San Francisco Nightlife Tips by Karnubawax Top 5 Page for this destination
San Francisco Nightlife: 421 reviews and 464 photos
For years now, The Mint has been THE place to go to get wasted with a large group of friends and make fools of yourselves!
Named after the US Mint, which looms over the area on a hilltop, the Mint is always a raucous good time. It gets VERY busy on the weekends, and even some weeknights.
There's no subtlety here... this is a bar to go to and get WASTED and sing badly. Karaoke pros will be impressed, however, by the song selection, which is truly impressive. Bring a camera.
Dress Code: None.
Address: 1942 Market St @ Guerrero
Directions: On Market Street, a short walk east of the Church Muni Station near the gigantic Safeway store at Market/Church.
"Karaoke" and "The Mint" are synonymous in San Francisco.
For years now, The Mint has been THE place to go to get wasted with a group of friends and make fools of yourselves. Their song selection is incredible, and even serious karaoke fans will be impressed.
The bar can get VERY crowded on weekends and even some weekdays, so don't expect to get a booth... in fact, you shouldn't count on getting a seat of any kind.
Dress Code: None. Absolutely none.
Address: 1942 Market St @ Guerrero
Directions: On Market Street, two blocks east of the Church Street Muni station, or the giant Safeway store.
Fat City - 11th Street
San Francisco nightclubs are notoriously strict about verifying I.D. to see that you're 21 - otherwise known as "carding."
Having worked in a bar for many years, I feel I can tell you how (and why) it works this way. When a bar gets caught serving alcohol to minors, they get their license suspended for 30 days - no warnings, no second chances. For a small bar, this can make the difference between staying open or closing for good. Therefore, these clubs take NO chances.
So here's how it works... if you go to a bar or nightclub in San Francisco, you have to be 21 years of age or older and MUST have a government-issued picture I.D. Period. No exceptions. If you don't have one, you will not get in - EVER. They will not accept any excuses; no amount of whining, crying, or screaming will work. They won't let your older friends "vouch" for you. If you don't have an I.D., YOU WILL NOT GET IN.
And the thing is... there is really no excuse not to have one. Unlike in Europe, hotels in the States do not require you to leave your I.D. Nobody does. And everyone knows it. So if you say you left it at your hotel, they'll know you're lying. Only an IDIOT would even attempt to go clubbing in San Francisco without an I.D. Either an idiot... or someone underage.
This strictness applies to all nightclubs and all bars in hot spots like 11th Street in SOMA, or Broadway. Restaurants are less strict about carding, but if you look under 21, chances are they will ask you for I.D. Perhaps in the grubbier areas of town they are less strict. But you had better play it cool and not act like you're on Spring Break. These bars and clubs can get in SERIOUS TROUBLE because of underage drinkers. If they figure out you are under 21, you can expect to be immediately ejected from the club.
SF law actually states that you have to have an I.D. regardless of your age. Even if you're 50, you still have to have I.D., and if you don't, the bar does not have to let you in. I'm always amazed at how some people just HAVE to be jerks about it and insist on not bringing I.D. and arguing with the door people! It's stupid! Just bring your damn I.D. and have fun!
The Mad Dog is a nice English Pub like place on Haight St. in the Lower Haight. They do have food, which is OK, but the main thing here is beer. Lots of delicious ales. It's also a great sports bar, with the emphasis being on soccer, particularly English Premier League. They usually have the later rounds of FA Cup action. This is also a place to look for sports tickets; the owners often organize excursions to 49er and Giants games.
Address: Haight St. btn. Steiner and Fillmore
Directions: There are several other bars on this 2 block stretch of Haight St., including Noc Noc, Toronado, Molotov's, and Danny Coyle's.
Theme: Eating and Drinking
The Toronado is about one thing and one thing only - beer. They have literally hundreds of different beers from all over the world. Like most places in the neighborhood, it attracts a scruffy but jovial local crowd. The Rosamund Sausage Grill is right next door, should you get hungry.
For a real treat, try the delicious Framboise Lambic - a Belgian beer fermented with raspberries.
They also have GREAT T-shirts! They're black, with their logo - a fist holding a pint of Guiness - emblazened in white accross the front. A must have souveneir!
Address: 547 Haight St. between Fillmore/Steiner
Theme: Eating and Drinking
The Peacock Lounge is one of the strangest clubs you will ever go to. It is, as Forrest Gump would say, like a box of chocolates... you never know what you're going to get!
The Peacock has no regular hours. It is available by rental only, so on Friday and Saturday nights it will usually be open. The cover charge, admission policies, and entertainment are all up to the folks renting it - and can range from a lineup of local rock bands to art openings to performance art to theater and everything in between. The only way to know is to show up.
Sometimes events there will be by invitation only, but if you explain that you're a tourist (and give them a little money), I'm sure they'd let you in. The bar is run by the owners, and is usually a low-budget affair - cans of beer in big ice tubs for $2. Last time I went they had liquor, but who knows now.
The great thing about the Peacock is that, whatever you see there, it will be the real San Francisco. You'll meet great people and see how the locals do things.
Dress Code: Again, up to the renters, but given the neighborhood, I would say none.
Address: 552 Haight St.
Directions: The Peacock, like almost everything else of consequence in the Lower Haight, is located on Haight btn Fillmore/Steiner. You can try calling to find out if anything's going on, but don't expect too much info other than whether they're open or not.
The poles don't lie!
There sometimes seems to be more club listing papers than there are actual clubs, but here are the tried and true ones...
BAY GUARDIAN - The "establishment alternative paper" has been around since the 70's and is geared toward an older, more PC audience. Has news and progressive editorials, but also lots of club listings.
SF WEEKLY - the SF weekly WAS a great paper - formerly the SF Calendar, it was a real voice of alternative SF. Then they sold out to a newspaper group specializing in cookie cutter "alternative" weeklies, and now it's basically a yuppie rag. The dot-commers loved it - full of smug, self-important, "we're so hip and rich and cool" righteousness. It caters to young, arrogant yuppies "slumming." We used to call them "Reagan Youth." Anyway, the plus side is you will find much more listings for trendier, dance-y type stuff.
PINK SECTION (Sunday SF Chronicle) - Known mainly for it's movie reviews, it's great for those looking for more conventional entertainment like symphonies, art openings, larger rock concerts, Broadway-style shows and the like. Don't expect much in the way of club listings here.
FLYERS ON TELEPHONE POLES - These are the best way to find out about local shows. They will mainly be put up by local musicians, not very far in advance, and you'll see a real city crowd.
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