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Delete Your Tinder, SF: Where to Meet Singles IRL

By / January 9, 2018

We get it: dating in San Francisco can be, well, brutal. Especially since it seems like most people prefer to do their “dating” from the comfort of the couch while binging on Netflix and pondering just how many more days they can get away with not bathing.

But guess what? There are actually a ton of people in SF who love to get out and about, do cool stuff, and meet new people… and a bunch of those people are single! So make this the year you swipe left to all of your lame dating apps and actually go out and meet someone in real life. Perhaps at one of these places—all of which are frequented by other single San Franciscans. Good luck!



Credit: Flickr/Derek Gerstmann

The Marina Safeway

I’ll never forget the time I saw my 8th grade science teacher rollerblading around the Marina Safeway and hitting on chicks. Save for the extinction of rollerblades, nothing has changed. This grocery store is full of attractive singles looking to meet each other, giving whole new meaning to “Pick up on aisle four.”


Polk St., Union St., and Chestnut St. locations
You could pay for a matchmaker, or you could fork over $75 a month to join Crunch and have access to tons of hot, sweaty singles who are definitely there to get their reps in, but are not opposed to asking for your digits while they wait for the next machine.

Cow Hollow

Try your luck at Balboa first, where even if you don’t meet someone, you’ll at least get a great cocktail. (Beware of cougars, though, unless that’s your thing.) Then, head up Fillmore to Mauna Loa where the preppy dudes go to play Super Shot and Buck Hunter, but stay to hit on the ladies. If you strike out there, make your way down Union Street to Bar None where it’s literally impossible not to find someone to take home, though you may very well regret your decision the next morning.

El Rio

This neighborhood bar is all about laid back good times and the patio makes it the perfect place to settle in for some weekend day drinking. Head there with a group of friends and challenge the person who meets your eye to a game of ping pong. Loser buys the engagement ring. Or, uh, the next round. You don’t want to seem like a lunatic right off the bat.


Credit: Momo’s


Head to Momo’s outdoor patio before or after a Giants home game for slightly tipsy, very chatty people who will definitely want to buy you a beer and maybe also ask for your number. Just beware: Giants games attract out-of-towners so that cute guy or gal may actually be from Modesto.

Planet Granite

This climbing gym has fantastic views of Crissy Field… and of really hot singles with great arms. Best of all? You can get a day pass, so once you meet you soulmate, you never have to go rock climbing again. KIDDING. Kind of.

The Blue Bottle Hayes Valley Kiosk

This particular location is good for meeting other people since the alleyway is conducive to chatting while you and your future significant other patiently wait for your coffee to be made. That being said, this is probably not the best place to meet someone if you’re the kind of person who can’t speak before the first cup of the day.

Casanova Lounge

Many bad decisions have been made at this Valencia bar, but many numbers have also been exchanged. It’s probably due to the velvet paintings of naked ladies, the red couches, the dim lighting, and, oh right: the pint-sized margaritas.


Credit: Hogwash


The communal table set-up at Hogwash makes this Union Square craft beer bar the perfect place to strike up easy conversation with your neighbors while devouring tasty sausages. And while we would never be so gauche as to say guys like beer and sausage (and therefore there are often lots of guys at Hogwash), uh… guys like beer and sausage, so… you get it.

The Social Study

Looking for someone who likes to work hard and play hard? The Social Study is the perfect spot. It’s a cafe with Wi-Fi by day, but then come 7 PM, the lights go down and the music goes up. Which is the perfect time to make your move on that cutie you’ve been eyeing.

Barbarossa Lounge

This cocktail bar and lounge is dark, sexy, and has a total pick-up vibe. In a good way. And even if you don’t meet anyone, the drinks are tasty and the space is cool.

Any Team in Training Event

You should definitely join to train for a race and raise money. But while you’re doing that, you can also meet other active, charitable, do-gooders, some of whom also think they’re going to die alone.


Credit: NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences

The Museum

SF has some amazing museums, and we’d go to them all of the time if they didn’t frown upon getting sauced while perusing the art. Except on certain nights, that is, when a bunch of them turn into 21+ venues with cocktail bars. There’s Friday Nights at the de Young, the Exploratorium After Dark, and our favorite: California Academy of Sciences NightLife.

All of the Street Fairs

Union Street, North Beach, Haight Street, Fillmore Street… Just find the drinking pen and go from there.


Credit: San Francisco Oysterfest

Pretty Much Every Food or Drink Event

Put people in a room, give ’em some tasty food and drink and the next thing you know, everyone will be talking, and getting along, and saying “I do” a year later. Or something like that. Seriously though, SF has so many kick-ass events where you get to try awesome food and drinks and meet cool people who also enjoy doing that.


Daisy Barringer moved to San Francisco when she was six years old and though she considers herself a “local,” knows better than to ever call herself “a native.” She resides in the Upper Haight/Cole Valley, but spends a lot of time in Tahoe with her 150-pound Saint Bernard, Monkey.

More articles by Daisy Barringer



  1. There are singles in SF who weren’t in fraternities and sororities and want to meet people who have job titles that don’t necessarily include “account executive” and “sales”

  2. I’ve heard that back in the 80’s and 90’s…SF Locals used to go to the Marina Safeway and place a banana bunch in the child seat area of their cart. This would let everyone in the store know that you were single and to approach you (or make an approach). I think those days are long gone. I’ve been looking for people doing this for years – only seen one or two. What I like about your article Daisy is that you are letting people know they can get off their smart phones and computers….and go meet others the old fashioned way. As a dating coach here in SF I totally believe in what you implying.

    However, I’m gonna be honest with you though….going out in the real world and needing to find a drinking garden in order to make approaches isn’t any better than online dating. In fact I’d say it’s worse. There are a lot of instances in your article about drinking. It definitely helps as a social lubricant- but keep it to 1 or 2 drinks. I’m a dating coach here in the Bay Area and I always instruct my clients to be original and be different. If everyone is texting the girl you like, call her. Hold the door open for her. Lead your man towards your approval. Etc.

    I think you pointed out some good meeting locations in your article….however the singles need actual strategies in order to succeed here in the trenches of SF. I have a lot of free advice/strategies on my blog here:


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  4. Kati (Founder of Piña Colada)

    Hi Daisy, Thanks for sharing these IRL dating locations. I recently left my corporate full time job to start my own business, Piña Colada, and change the way people are dating in San Francisco. Piña Colada brings dating back to real life by connecting groups of six like-minded singles over great food in San Francisco’s best restaurants. Learn more here: Cheers, Kati

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