Navigating myriad expensive bars can be difficult, especially in the cocktail mecca that is San Francisco, where $150 Martinis are served tableside from rolling carts, and neighborhoods abound with drinks for every kind of drinker. That’s where reverse happy hours come in: some of the best places to pick your poison also happen to offer late-night deals. Here are eight spots around the city (and one in Oakland) for nighttime discounts on food and drink.
Tasty yoshoku dishes — Western-style food adapted for Japanese tastes — entice at this beloved izakaya in the Mission that offers happy hour deals from 10 to 11 p.m. Discounted hot and cold sake and soju go down easy with sizzling yakitori and pristine sashimi. Check out the “Big Mac” nigiri made with wagyu steak, toro, uni, caviar and truffle zest. Chome recently moved to a bigger and better location at 26th and Valencia.
Mere steps from the Castro is this swanky lounge, where the happy hour goes until a respectable 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. SF denizens sidle up to a long vintage bar for discounts on Whisky Sours, Old Fashioneds, Margaritas and other classic cocktails, in addition to “happy hour” stalwarts like draft beers, bottled beers and wines by the glass. Shoot some pool in the back room or ask about the stash of board games behind the bar.
A special happy hour menu takes diners from 9 p.m. until closing at midnight, Tuesday through Saturday, at this retro-modern bar in Hayes Valley, with floor-to-ceiling windows, curved banquettes, and soaring ceilings. Freshly squeezed fruits, herbs, and chiles elevate the cocktail game above the usual. Try the Warhead, made with rum and homemade mint shrub, or ask for the intriguing secret cocktail menu (but don’t expect any deals). Choose from three solid options on the reverse happy hour food menu, including a juicy cheeseburger with truffle aioli for $10.
Perched atop The LINE hotel in Union Square, Rise Over Run is one of the city’s most stunning rooftop bars, with sweeping views of Sutro Tower and City Hall that will make you fall in love with San Francisco all over again. When the wind picks up, you can request a blanket or move to the solarium for the Asian-inspired happy hour starting at 9 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday and at 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Munch on duck confit eggrolls and Nashville-inspired fried chicken sandwiches for less than $12. High balls, Martinis, Daiquiris and the classic “beer and a shot” are all $10.
The Best New Restaurants That Opened in San Francisco This FallFrom Nikkei cuisine to an eatery from a French Laundry alum
Some nights just call for a chili dog and a beer. Enter the Pinecrest Diner. Opened in 1969, it’s one of the few 24/7 restaurants left in San Francisco, and it’s pretty much happy hour around the clock here, with a menu that tops out at $34.95 for USDA Choice Angus steak and prawns. House Screwdrivers and Bloody Marys ($10) accompany a small wine and beer selection (make any beer a Michelada for an extra $3). Many dishes are designed to soak up alcohol. Case in point: The Moose, a pile of homemade biscuits topped with bacon, eggs and hash browns and slathered in sausage gravy.
The nondescript façade of this eccentric Japanese pub on the corner of Post and Jones Streets in Lower Nob Hill belies the wild exuberance inside. As you take in the quirky décor of anime figures, vintage artwork, and sparkling string lights, the free Japanese candy bar in the corner really does make sense. But you’ve come here for the late-night happy hour, from 10 to 11 p.m. nightly, for deals on barbecue skewers, sushi, chicken kara-age, tonkatsu ramen and more. (Check the Yelp app for a free Sapporo beer.)
Enter this lush bar in Lower Nob Hill, and you’ll quickly realize this is not your typical corner bar. Filled with plants, natural woods and couches for lounging, it brings a chill nature vibe to your reverse happy hour bar crawl. Monday through Thursday from 8 to 10 p.m., find deals on delicious craft cocktails made with rye whiskey, gin, tequila and more. P.S. You can bring in outside food.
A sprawling rooftop patio with DJs and several bars draws a crowd to the killer traditional happy hour at this Lower Nob Hill spot. But Jones recently unrolled weeknight drink specials that go all the way until closing time (10 p.m. to midnight, depending on the day). Find late-night mezcal and tequila specials on Tuesdays, 25% off wine bottles on Wednesdays, shareable punch bowls and tiki cocktail specials on Thursdays, and “Flashback Friday” with drinks inspired by ’90s and 2000s club favorites.
When the craving for Mexican strikes, East Bay locals head to Calavera in Oakland for Oaxacan fare like aguachiles, chicken mole, tacos, freshly made tortillas, and tons of guac. Reverse happy hour happens every Friday night, from 9 p.m. until closing, where you can snag margaritas made with top-shelf tequila for $12 (house margaritas are $7), mezcal cocktails, cervezas and wines by the glass.
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