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Horseshoe Tavern
Horseshoe Tavern
Amanda S./Yelp

Where to Break Up With Someone in San Francisco

These spots are crowded enough to not feel awkward and empty enough to give you (at least some semblance of) privacy

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Horseshoe Tavern
| Amanda S./Yelp

Breakups should always happen in the privacy of one's home ... but sometimes you just have to cut the cord in public. When that happens, you need a place that's dark and allows you to get in and get out quickly. These spots are crowded enough to not feel awkward and empty enough to give you (at least some semblance of) privacy. Just remember: be respectful of the establishment and other patrons. But for when you absolutely need it, these 17 bars are ideal for breaking up with someone.

Need some ideas for your next potential date? Check out the best first date spots in the city for coffee or for drinks.

— Noelle Chun, Andrew Dalton, Ellen Fort, Anna Roth, and Stefanie Tuder contributed to this map.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Bow Bow Cocktail Lounge

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A karaoke bar may seem an odd choice for a breakup spot, but the more you think about it, the more genius it becomes. There's plenty of music to drown out any of the more heated moments in your conversation, people are too focused on the singer to notice you, and you can even sing a swan song if needed.

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Brass Tacks

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As long as it's not a Friday or Saturday night, Brass Tacks will be just dark enough to hide, just empty enough to not make a scene, just full enough to not attract attention, and just sticky enough to ensure there won't be a rambling conversation.

Driftwood

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When the sparks start to fizzle, head down to this damp and dark dive-turned-beach-themed-cocktail bar. The cocktails are unfussy and not too expensive (about $10 a pop) so that you can grab a discreet corner on the couch or a bar seat near the door, get the bad news over with, and then slink out.

Rose Garrett

Evil Eye

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The brand-new Evil Eye has a ton of couches; choose one to deliver your message. Hopefully the evil eye will protect you while you do.

Horseshoe Tavern

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No frills, no bullshit, no credit cards is the name of Horseshoe Tavern's game. Get in, do your business, and get out, then head to The Tipsy Pig down the street for some meat market action with your newly single status.

Irish Times

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So long as you don't go during a sports game, Irish Times has the quick in-and-out service, simple drinks, and the somewhat private space you need to cut the cord.

Last Call

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Appropriately named for your dying relationship, Last Call has all the dark and divey vibes you need for a breakup. It's a lower-key spot in the middle of the Castro, and there's a fireplace to provide the heat your relationship lacked.

Missouri Lounge

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This ancient dive bar is as faded as your relationship, and the perfect place to nip it in the bud. Drown your mutual sorrows at opposite ends of the bar with "the special," a shot and a beer for $5. When the deed is done, listen to any number of ballads on the jukebox that are perfect for soothing an addled heart.

Rock Bar

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People will be too focused on pool and ping pong to notice the drama unfolding in your personal life. Pick a booth at this divier bar (with the bonus of better-than-average cocktails) for some privacy, and make it quick.

The mid-century-inspired lobby bar at the Laurel Inn has a low-key vibe that will give you the Don Draper-sized ego you need to break the harsh news. Be forewarned though: The martinis here are voluminous and would look very dramatic being thrown in someone's face.

Tee Off Bar

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Tee Off is a great dive bar, so the last thing we want to do is inflect it with bad breakup juju. But, for those who have just experienced heartbreak, there are great beers on tap as well as a menu of meaty fried items, including a surprisingly delicious pulled pork-filled waffle cone situation. The bar’s proximity to Land’s End, and all the contemplative ocean views that it offers, is a solid plus.

The Alley

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Breaking up to the sweet sounds of Rod Dibble's piano playing is one of the more poetic ways to end a relationship. This divey saloon is dark, with private booths and stiff drinks, making it the perfect place to cut ties.

The Ice Cream Bar Soda Fountain

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When it's time to cut ties, what better place to do it than at the cold granite bar of an art deco-themed soda jerk? Break the news over a couple boozy dessert drinks and if there are sore feelings at the end of it all, at least you'll still have ice cream.

The Owl Tree

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Grab a drink at the bar and then head to the small tables with leather couches in the back of Owl Tree and tell your SO it's not you, it's me. There's enough privacy back there to afford you the space you need to get the job done.

The Page

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There are a lot of nooks to tuck into at The Page, a cash-only dive on Divis. Pick one, order a whiskey on the rocks for strength, and get it over with.

The Ramp

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Known for its bloody marys, The Ramp is a good place to bring a scorned lover in broad daylight. Have your "serious talk" by the water, where you can leave your ex gazing into the Bay, or at least have a getaway plan by boat locked down.

Yancy's Saloon

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Yancy’s is a big, lively Irish bar. Which means that any sort of scene can be absorbed, because there’s always enough going on to distract from whatever’s happening at your table. The bar also has many beers on tap, several TV screens to fix your attention on if things get too awkward, and a few dart boards in back in case either of you need to take out some aggression.

Bow Bow Cocktail Lounge

Eater Archives

A karaoke bar may seem an odd choice for a breakup spot, but the more you think about it, the more genius it becomes. There's plenty of music to drown out any of the more heated moments in your conversation, people are too focused on the singer to notice you, and you can even sing a swan song if needed.

Eater Archives

Brass Tacks

As long as it's not a Friday or Saturday night, Brass Tacks will be just dark enough to hide, just empty enough to not make a scene, just full enough to not attract attention, and just sticky enough to ensure there won't be a rambling conversation.

Driftwood

Rose Garrett

When the sparks start to fizzle, head down to this damp and dark dive-turned-beach-themed-cocktail bar. The cocktails are unfussy and not too expensive (about $10 a pop) so that you can grab a discreet corner on the couch or a bar seat near the door, get the bad news over with, and then slink out.

Rose Garrett

Evil Eye

The brand-new Evil Eye has a ton of couches; choose one to deliver your message. Hopefully the evil eye will protect you while you do.

Horseshoe Tavern

No frills, no bullshit, no credit cards is the name of Horseshoe Tavern's game. Get in, do your business, and get out, then head to The Tipsy Pig down the street for some meat market action with your newly single status.

Irish Times

So long as you don't go during a sports game, Irish Times has the quick in-and-out service, simple drinks, and the somewhat private space you need to cut the cord.

Last Call

Appropriately named for your dying relationship, Last Call has all the dark and divey vibes you need for a breakup. It's a lower-key spot in the middle of the Castro, and there's a fireplace to provide the heat your relationship lacked.

Missouri Lounge

This ancient dive bar is as faded as your relationship, and the perfect place to nip it in the bud. Drown your mutual sorrows at opposite ends of the bar with "the special," a shot and a beer for $5. When the deed is done, listen to any number of ballads on the jukebox that are perfect for soothing an addled heart.

Rock Bar

People will be too focused on pool and ping pong to notice the drama unfolding in your personal life. Pick a booth at this divier bar (with the bonus of better-than-average cocktails) for some privacy, and make it quick.

Swank

The mid-century-inspired lobby bar at the Laurel Inn has a low-key vibe that will give you the Don Draper-sized ego you need to break the harsh news. Be forewarned though: The martinis here are voluminous and would look very dramatic being thrown in someone's face.

Tee Off Bar

Tee Off is a great dive bar, so the last thing we want to do is inflect it with bad breakup juju. But, for those who have just experienced heartbreak, there are great beers on tap as well as a menu of meaty fried items, including a surprisingly delicious pulled pork-filled waffle cone situation. The bar’s proximity to Land’s End, and all the contemplative ocean views that it offers, is a solid plus.

The Alley

Breaking up to the sweet sounds of Rod Dibble's piano playing is one of the more poetic ways to end a relationship. This divey saloon is dark, with private booths and stiff drinks, making it the perfect place to cut ties.

The Ice Cream Bar Soda Fountain

When it's time to cut ties, what better place to do it than at the cold granite bar of an art deco-themed soda jerk? Break the news over a couple boozy dessert drinks and if there are sore feelings at the end of it all, at least you'll still have ice cream.

The Owl Tree

Grab a drink at the bar and then head to the small tables with leather couches in the back of Owl Tree and tell your SO it's not you, it's me. There's enough privacy back there to afford you the space you need to get the job done.