If done properly, day drinking in San Francisco is really more of a sport than a casual activity. See: teammates (translation: day drinking buddies), uniforms (day drinking requires a cute outfit and layers), and hydration (taking a break for water is crucial if you want to make it until dark). It's also best done completely spontaneously ("I thought we were just meeting for brunch!") and when hungover (your Netflix will always be there). From grassy lawns to dive bar patios to a "cafe" that opens at 6 a.m., here are 12 quintessential SF day drinking spots that will ensure you're in bed shortly after sunset.Read More
A San Francisco Guide to Successful Day Drinking
From beer gardens to dive bars, these are the best places to drink the day away.
Biergarten's lease was recently extended so now you have six more years to enjoy afternoons of drinking in this Hayes Valley beer garden with a rotating selection of Bavarian beer and Austrian wines served out of a refurbished shipping crate. Even though there are over 10 communal table with benches, on a sunny day, it may be a challenge to find a place to sit, and the lines can get kind of long, but somehow it all doesn't matter when you're enjoying good beer and great company.
2. El Rio
El Rio's been serving up day drinking happiness to an eclectic crowd since 1978 and is always a guaranteed good time. The expansive back area has a deck, a garden, a pool table, and is dog friendly. The bartenders are known for making a mean margarita and since it's located in the sunny part of town, you might even be able to leave your fifth layer at home.
3. Finnegan's Wake
If you're doing it right, brunch at Zazie (right next door) starts and ends at Finnegan's Wake, a neighborhood no-frills dive bar where you'll get good, reasonably priced drinks made by bartenders who appreciate a little surly sarcasm. The back yard has rickety benches and tables and an old ping pong table, all of which make it a great spot for some laid back drinking in the middle of the day. Until the fog rolls in at least...
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4. Hobson's Choice
Hobson's Choice is located smack dab in the middle of Haight Street's tourist scene. And thanks to its corner spot and huge windows, that makes it the perfect place to ensconce oneself for some prime people watching. The bar specializes in rums and their punches can be trouble. Which is a good thing when it comes to day drinking, right?
5. Park Chalet Coastal Beer Garden
If the weather cooperates, Park Chalet is a perfect spot for an afternoon of drinking. There's a big lawn where you can kick back in an Adirondack chair or spread out on a blanket. Servers will deliver beers and food right to you, so the party never has to pause. Start the day off with a Bloody and then move on to the hand crafted ales; $13 will get you a sampler of all eight. And no need to leave Fido at home; dogs are welcome to join in on the fun.
6. Pier 23 Cafe
This waterside spot on the Embarcadero looks like a hole in a wall, and, well, kind of is a hole in the wall. In the best way possible, of course. The huge patio is the place to be on sunny days and is perfect for a crab and shrimp sandwich and an ice cold beer. If you want to continue the daytime party into night, Pier 23 has live music every day of the week, usually starting around 6 p.m.
7. Southern Pacific Brewing
This is the place to day drink if you want to day drink with your kids. The space is massive with tons of outdoor seating and it's in the Mission, so there's a good chance the sun will be shining. Southern Pacific Brewing also has a good selection of house and guest beers, creative cocktails, and tasty food. It does become 21 and over at 3 p.m. though, so you'll have to take your little monkey home then, which is fine, since after a day of sun and fun, you'll probably both be ready for a nap.
8. The Ramp
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and there's no where you'd rather be than drinking a Bloody Mary and then a beer or three at The Ramp. You are a wise person for coming up with this plan; the only problem is that you're not alone. No, when it comes to day drinking at The Ramp, you're never alone as it's one of the top spots in SF for imbibing during daytime hours. That's what happens when a restaurant serves up good food with great views in one of the sunniest 'hoods in town. Still, don't let the crowds scare you away. The Ramp is always a perfect place to be on a beautiful day. And the crowd is half the fun.
9. The Tipsy Pig
The Tipsy Pig is only a day drinking spot on the weekend (it doesn't open until 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday), but the brunch scene at this Marina restaurant is legit, and not just because of the patio (which is heated and tented during winter months). The Strawberry Fields (vodka, fresh strawberries, splash of soda & lime) is the way to go: refreshing and perfect for a sunny day.
10. Thee Parkside
This bar that hosts some of the city's best punk rock shows plays double duty as a prime day drinking spot. Cheap drinks, a covered patio, and a totally unpretentious vibe (read: DIVE) are why this is a go-to for locals looking to hang out with a chill crowd who just wants to drink beer and have fun. The tater tots are not to be skipped, which is a good thing since day drinking is only made better by afternoon snacks.
11. Vesuvio Cafe
If you're looking to start your day drinking early — like 6 a.m. early — then this historic North Beach bar is the way to go. Open every day of the year, Vesuvio feels like old school San Francisco because it is. It's not the place you go to get rowdy with your friends; rather it's the place where you go to have a stiff drink and meet some new characters, many of whom don't call having a drink at noon day drinking, but rather just: drinking.
Zeitgeist is the King of Day Drinking in San Francisco. Meaning: Unless it's raining, expect a crowd. And if it's really nice out, expect an enormous crowd. Still, there's a reason for such things and in Zeitgeist's case, it's the huge outdoor area with picnic tables and, uh, the fact that they serve beer, booze, and burgers. And not much else really. But what else does one need when gathering mid-day to drink with friends?