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Where to Celebrate (Or Avoid) SantaCon This Weekend

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The loosely-organized yearly celebration of public drunkenness known as SantaCon is back this Saturday, December 9th. Held in multiple cities and observed locally around Union Square as well as in North Beach and the Marina, SantaCon invites attendees to dress in Santa or other holiday costumes, bar hop, and generally behave as if the law were for other people.

SantaCon began in San Francisco in 1994 as a vaguely subversive stunt for the early Burning Man crowd. Since then, it’s grown massively in size, and now attracts Santa-clad twenty-somethings by the thousands. Rumors of its death a few years ago were, in the end, greatly exaggerated. With the added numbers and poorer behavior have come backlash, and plenty of bars ban “Santas” completely. But if you’re planning to get dressed up and attend, congratulations on recently moving to the Bay Area, and here are 13 bars and clubs that are actively inviting SantaCon revelers with drink specials and events. You might also bring, as the event officially but half-heartedly requests, an un-wrapped gift for the SantaCon toy drive, to be collected at Union Square. If, on the other hand, you’re planning to skip SantaCon altogether, here are 13 bars to avoid at all costs on that dreaded day. For more places to go to avoid the annual scourge, see Curbed’s recommendations.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Ho’s Tavern

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Ho’s Bootleg Tavern is on SantaCon’s list this year, and while they haven’t indicated specific drink specials, there is food like fried Oreos and cheese fries to be had here. That might come in handy after whatever fireball shots/gatorade bottles full of mixed drinks between bars people drink at this thing.

Ho's Bootleg Tavern
Ho's Bootleg Tavern
Ho's Bootleg Tavern/Facebook

House Rules

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House rules promises festive decor, plus “jingle” jello shots for $4 each or 5 for $15. They’ll also have scrooge-a-libre, a renamed take on the classic Cuba Libre cocktail with Sailor Jerry rum for $7 and $8 Bud light and shot combos.

Polk Street bar Blur, whose name embodies its patrons state of mind, has thrown its Santa hat in the ring. They “cannot wait” for SantaCon, though are offering as yet undetermined drink specials.

800 Larkin St

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Dance party hosts DuckPond present Holiday DJs galore including Hot Toddy and Big Papa Noel at this event, which is open to the public and SantaCon attendees alike. They’ll also accept those gift donations — no need to wrap them — on behalf of the Sonoma County Fire Department Toys For Tots program. Drink specials promised.

Ha-Ra Club

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Ha-Ra isn’t saying humbug to SantaCon: Instead, the classic dive bar is offering specials like $3 Bud Light bottles, $6 Jameson, and $15 Budweiser Pitchers.

This Sutter Street sports bar, where locals start pickling themselves at 6 a.m., is a classic in its way. A staple of the SantaCon circuit, it’s offering $3 tall boys of Bud or Bud Light to those in holiday suits, plus regular Bud and Jameson for $9.

The Royale

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The Royale has marked itself down as SantaCon friendly, but hasn't specified drink specials. This more relaxed lounge at Post and Leavenworth has booths and tables for lounging, so might be better for sedentary Santa types.

The Holy Cow Nightclub

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SoMa nigthclub Holy Cow is hosting a Santacon afterparty from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. dubbed the Ugly Sweater Party. DJ Gio (Young California) & J-Trip will perform.

DNA Lounge

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Reputable drunk dancing destination DNA Lounge hosts Santa or holiday clad guests for free before 11 p.m at the classic late night dance party Bootie SF, provided they’re fully-dressed and not fully-wasted, the chances of which diminish by the hour.

Chief Sullivan's

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A classic Irish pub in North beach, Chief Sullivan’s gets bonus holiday points for its cozy fireplace. To warm Santas up inside, they’ll also serve jello shots.

Love And Propaganda

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This nightclub hosts a day-to-night “Bad Santa” SantaCon party with music by TRAVISWILD, DJ Dials and Masajay. Free entry with RSVP before 2pm.

A classy-leaning club, Monroe is nevertheless welcoming a bit of debauchery by granting free admission with a Santa suit on Saturday. Portions of a signature Santa cocktail will go to the SFFD toy program.

Hawthorn

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Hawthorn is advertising itself as the Official SantaCon Day Party, whether or not such a thing exists, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It’s free to attend with an EventBrite RSVP, and full costumes, rather than a perfunctory Santa hat or t-shirt, are requested.

Ho’s Tavern

Ho's Bootleg Tavern
Ho's Bootleg Tavern
Ho's Bootleg Tavern/Facebook

Ho’s Bootleg Tavern is on SantaCon’s list this year, and while they haven’t indicated specific drink specials, there is food like fried Oreos and cheese fries to be had here. That might come in handy after whatever fireball shots/gatorade bottles full of mixed drinks between bars people drink at this thing.

Ho's Bootleg Tavern
Ho's Bootleg Tavern
Ho's Bootleg Tavern/Facebook

House Rules

House rules promises festive decor, plus “jingle” jello shots for $4 each or 5 for $15. They’ll also have scrooge-a-libre, a renamed take on the classic Cuba Libre cocktail with Sailor Jerry rum for $7 and $8 Bud light and shot combos.

Blur

Polk Street bar Blur, whose name embodies its patrons state of mind, has thrown its Santa hat in the ring. They “cannot wait” for SantaCon, though are offering as yet undetermined drink specials.

800 Larkin St

Dance party hosts DuckPond present Holiday DJs galore including Hot Toddy and Big Papa Noel at this event, which is open to the public and SantaCon attendees alike. They’ll also accept those gift donations — no need to wrap them — on behalf of the Sonoma County Fire Department Toys For Tots program. Drink specials promised.

Ha-Ra Club

Ha-Ra isn’t saying humbug to SantaCon: Instead, the classic dive bar is offering specials like $3 Bud Light bottles, $6 Jameson, and $15 Budweiser Pitchers.

Ace's

This Sutter Street sports bar, where locals start pickling themselves at 6 a.m., is a classic in its way. A staple of the SantaCon circuit, it’s offering $3 tall boys of Bud or Bud Light to those in holiday suits, plus regular Bud and Jameson for $9.

The Royale

The Royale has marked itself down as SantaCon friendly, but hasn't specified drink specials. This more relaxed lounge at Post and Leavenworth has booths and tables for lounging, so might be better for sedentary Santa types.

The Holy Cow Nightclub

SoMa nigthclub Holy Cow is hosting a Santacon afterparty from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. dubbed the Ugly Sweater Party. DJ Gio (Young California) & J-Trip will perform.

DNA Lounge

Reputable drunk dancing destination DNA Lounge hosts Santa or holiday clad guests for free before 11 p.m at the classic late night dance party Bootie SF, provided they’re fully-dressed and not fully-wasted, the chances of which diminish by the hour.

Chief Sullivan's

A classic Irish pub in North beach, Chief Sullivan’s gets bonus holiday points for its cozy fireplace. To warm Santas up inside, they’ll also serve jello shots.

Love And Propaganda

This nightclub hosts a day-to-night “Bad Santa” SantaCon party with music by TRAVISWILD, DJ Dials and Masajay. Free entry with RSVP before 2pm.

Monroe

A classy-leaning club, Monroe is nevertheless welcoming a bit of debauchery by granting free admission with a Santa suit on Saturday. Portions of a signature Santa cocktail will go to the SFFD toy program.

Hawthorn

Hawthorn is advertising itself as the Official SantaCon Day Party, whether or not such a thing exists, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It’s free to attend with an EventBrite RSVP, and full costumes, rather than a perfunctory Santa hat or t-shirt, are requested.

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