For those who love the spooky season vibes that Halloween evokes in October, get excited because San Francisco’s bars and restaurants are ready to entertain. There are a number of costume contests to attend — including some with excellent prizes if we do say so ourselves — and bloody drinks to down, all in the name of Halloween.
Where to party in San Francisco this Halloween
There’s perhaps no restaurant spookier than one that was once a mortuary, but Curio is leaning into its past with a trio of events for Halloween weekend. There will be live music, of course, along with food and drink specials, and a costume contest on Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29 with a $100 prize. There’s also “BOO-zy brunch” from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30.
Shuggie’s is getting in the Halloween spirit with a “Halloween Boogie” costume contest geared towards dogs (listed first) and humans from 5 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, October 29. There’s a $250 cash price for first place, but even if you don’t win, there will be “satanic drinks” available to drown your sorrows, plus tarot readings and a spooky DJ set.
Rye Bar is channeling its inner Stanley Kubrick with a monthlong ode to the Shining, during which the bar has been transformed to evoke elements from the Overlook Hotel — and yes, there are some very choice photo opportunities to take advantage of. The bar is serving a new cocktail menu with 10 drinks in line with the Shining theme, including Red Rum, a drink made with dark rum, Campari, pineapple, clarified coconut, and served over a “large red ice cube.”
That North Beach favorite, Hilda and Jesse has been in business for one year, and what better way to celebrate than by throwing a Halloween costume party on Monday, October 31? The restaurant will do up its decor in a holiday-appropriate spooky theme, with the bar serving cocktails, beers, and wine. The $85 ticketed event begins at 6 p.m. and includes a glass of Champagne and a plate of four bites.
Marina spot the Dorian promises “a night of freakish delights” with the return of its annual Beastly Ball Halloween Party, set for Friday, October 28 starting at 9 p.m. There will be music by DJ BLK&WHT, along with some unusual performances — or perhaps they’re de rigueur given the occasion — by stilt walkers, snake dancers, and contortionists. (And don’t tell the fire department, but there is also word of a “fiery punch bowl.”) Costumes are encouraged, and free tickets are available via Eventbrite.
If you haven’t been yet, Kona’s Street Market Bar has been carrying the Halloween torch all month long with decorations for “Nightmare on Kona’s Street.” The bar takeover lasts until Saturday, October 29 with a special drink menu for the occasion.
Marina restaurant Jaranita has a couple of events planned for Halloween weekend; the restaurant continues its weekend pajama brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, October 28 through Sunday, October 30, when customers can come in dressed in either pajamas or costumes. For some extra incentive, if an entire table comes dressed up, they’ll be given a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine with the purchase of brunch. On Sunday, October 30, the restaurant will host a costume contest while musicians both inside the Yunza Room and outside, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., with free salsa lessons available from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m with a two-drink purchase, plus candy for trick-or-treaters.
It’s only appropriate that Old Devil Moon has a number of Halloween-themed events throughout the month of October; already, the bar has been hosting weekly Wednesday horror movie salons, continuing on to October 19 and October 26. There’s pumpkin carving happening Thursday, October 20 — “until we run out of pumpkins,” the bar promises — and tarot readings on Wednesday, October 26. For the grand finale, there will be a costume contest with prizes held on Saturday, October 29.
The Madrigal is getting into the holiday spirit on Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29 by transforming into the MadriGHOUL, serving a new drink menu (they’re calling it a SHOCKtail menu) and a small bites menu for the occasion. Tie one on while the fog machines and music are going, and costumes are definitely encouraged — the winner of the best costume award will receive a pair of tickets for Moulin Rouge for November 1.
Get your Halloween tricks — er, drinks — here
If you’re looking for food and drink specials, versus the whole Halloween party thing, International Smoke’s bar team has a few spooky drinks up its sleeves. A new cocktail called the Transfusión will be served tableside from Friday, October 28 to Monday, October 31; the drink mixes mezcal and Suze with blood orange syrup and lemon juice, and is presented in a blood bag (yes, really) and served on ice in a glass.
San Francisco Wine Society has Halloween-themed wine flights to uncork at its Merchant Street location, with themes ranging from the sweet (“I Want Candy”) to more horror-centric (“Interview With a Vampire”).
Flour+Water Pasta Shop is going orange on Saturday, October 29 — as in, with an orange wine flight. Wine director Sam Bogue found three “hard to find” skin contact wines for Orange Flight Night, with flights and snacks available from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Snacks will include items such as black garlic and squash arancini or deviled eggs, with a scary movie projected on the wall through the night.
Find treats at these San Francisco spots
If you’re just looking for sweets, locally owned tinyB Chocolate has a DIY popsicle kit fit for kids and adults. There are googly eyes and sprinkles to decorate your popsicles. Feel free to share your creations (or not).
Carol Gancia always has treats on deck for special occasions and Halloween is no exception — the chocolatier is unleashing three milk chocolate lollipops on customers this year. There’s the Spooky Pumpkin Lolly, the Jumpy K-Pop Lolly, and the Scary Choco-Foot Lolly (the scariest of the three, if we may say so) available at the shop or online.