It’s a tale as old as time: Summer hits San Francisco low and slow, emerging after the freezing cold, foggy August as September and October come around. And there may be no finer place to head than a rooftop bar to ring in the warmth. The San Francisco Chronicle predicts a heatwave in fall 2023, so heading to El Techo for powerful margaritas in the Mission District or to Fiorella’s covered roof in the Inner Sunset to enjoy cool drinks made with a fancy old ice shaver at Bar Noninna makes more sense than ever. These 14 bars and restaurants are all excellent spots to salute the incoming sun.Read More
14 Top-Notch Rooftop Bars and Restaurants in San Francisco and the East Bay
Get a bird’s eye view of the best rooftop bars and restaurants in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley
Study Hall Rooftop Lounge
Berkeley welcomed its highest rooftop bar in March 2022 with the debut of Study Hall at the Residence Inn downtown. While you take in the expansive views of the University of California Berkeley campus, peruse an approachable menu with light Asian influences: think a green onion pancake served with Kewpie mayo and a kimchi rice bowl. Ten specialty cocktails include variations on familiar favorites such as the Campus Bird, a jungle bird riff with rum and Campari.
Oakland residents also got a new rooftop perch in the East Bay with the opening of High 5ive atop the Kissel Uptown Oakland hotel. Snacks range from artichoke spinach dip and a meat and cheese plate to a chopped salad and carnitas tacos, with cocktails options such as the spritz-y Delayed Flight, featuring Tito’s vodka, Aperol, grapefruit, and lime.
Oeste — Bar
This Old Oakland bar and restaurant has the ideal rooftop for snacking on shrimp and grits, fried brussels sprouts, and steak frites. Cocktails, beer, wine, and weekend brunch that starts at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday are all extra reasons to stop by.
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If you want to take in the late summer views of the Bay Bridge, with the Ferry Building front and center, there might be no better place than Sens. The rooftop restaurant is available for private events, and, on the other end of things, happy hour is on every day at 3:30 p.m. with eggplant flatbreads and fattoush salad aplenty.
One of the city’s biggest rooftop spaces means plenty of room to gather pals for cocktails and occasional live music. The greenery scattered throughout gives it a lush vibe, though it’s in the midst of the Tenderloin, surrounded by hotels and apartment buildings.
On the fifth floor of Hotel Zelos, Dirty Habit is a hidden-away lair secluded by SoMa’s high-rise buildings. It’s dark and luxe indoors, but it opens out onto fire pits and lounge-worthy sofas. Sip from a menu of craft cocktails, which switches up with the seasons, and snack on oysters and shishito peppers, or go all-in on wild halibut or barbecue short ribs.
Rise Over Run
The LINE hotel includes both a restaurant, Tenderheart, and a rooftop bar, Rise Over Run. Head up to the top floor to find cocktails from longtime San Francisco bartender Danie Louie and a tight food menu from chef Joe Hou. There’s also a covered solarium, packed with plants, for days when the weather’s not quite right, plus firepits to warm up around outside. Brunch is on as of October 7, 2023, with chilaquiles and chia seed pudding on the menu.
Charmaine's Rooftop Bar & Lounge
Look up and down Market Street’s windy corridor from the glass-enclosed patio of Charmaine’s, perched atop the well-heeled Proper Hotel. It’s got drinks designed by Bon Vivants Hospitality (Trick Dog, Chezchez), snacks by Jason Fox of the late Commonwealth, and high style to match. The best seats are around one of the fire pits, so act fast.
Decked out with swaying palm trees and a lush plant wall, this tropical rooftop bar and restaurant is perched high above the SoMa skyline atop the Hyatt Place hotel. From the team behind Cow Hollow’s Kaiyo, expect a menu of Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei food and drinks including inventive sushi rolls, a variety of ceviches, and tropically-inspired cocktails — tiny umbrellas and all.
Atop SoMa’s 25 Lusk is a lovely rooftop bar serving wood-fired pizzas, burgers, and other bar snacks. Frozen cocktails, beers, and wines are attractive orders, particularly when the heaters come on to combat Bay Area winter (or notoriously cool summer) weather.
There’s probably no better view in all of Mission Bay than from the stylish rooftop bar Cavaña, which opened in January 2023 just a few short blocks away from Oracle Park. It’s the latest from restaurateur John Park (Kaiyo, Kaiyo Rooftop, Novela) and a roster of experienced bar industry pros including Anthony Parks, beverage director Emilio Salehi, and bar manager Miguel Salehi. They’re pulling inspiration from across Latin America including Peru, Venezuela, and Mexico so the cocktails feature flavors like hoja santa, papaya, mole spices, and poblano peppers. On the food menu, expect aguachiles, arepas, and flaky pastel de carne.
You’d never know it at first glance, but there’s a slender rooftop patio perched atop Fiorella’s newest outpost in the Sunset. Hung with string lights and armed with heaters, it’s a cozy setting for sharing wood-fired pizzas and fresh pastas.
Good Good Culture Club
In early 2022, the former Dear Inga space (which hosted chef Ravi Kapur’s Liholiho Yacht Club throughout the pandemic) flipped into Good Good Culture Club, a team effort from a trio of Liholiho alums: general manager Aimee Arcilla, chef Kevin Keovanpheng, and chef Brett Shaw. The menu splits two ways, savory and sweet, with plates inspired by Arcilla’s Filipina heritage and Shaw’s Laotian upbringing. The roof is easily the best seat in the house with lots of plants and a vibrant color scheme.
El Techo has long been one of the city’s best options for outdoor drinking, day or night. Head up to the rooftop patio overlooking Mission Street for margaritas, small plates, and an excellent weekday happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. There are heaters scattered around the roof and if you want the very best views, belly up to the drinking rail.