The Best Happy Hours in San Francisco Right Now

Nine exceptional options for your post-work (and late-night) drinks

May 28, 2024 6:05 am
A bartender grabbing a bunch of cocktails during happy hour. We list the best happy hours around San Francisco.
Who's buying? Doesn't matter — it's happy hour.

The primary purpose of a great happy hour is to do exactly what it promises it’s going to do: make you happy. We’ve all had those days, when work was too damn frustrating or we just couldn’t shake that thing from our mind that’s been eating at us — and there’s nothing like gathering with friends over drinks and bites, or even saddling up to a bar solo, to put a smile on your face before the evening comes around. San Francisco has tons of happy hours sprinkled throughout the city, but there are some can’t-miss ones you should seek out. Whether you’re after fresh oysters and drinks on the cheap, a rooftop with a view before sunset, or even a late-night cocktail and a bite, these S.F. happy hours will fill those needs and more.

Popi’s Oysterette

Monday-Friday, 3-5 p.m.

This cozy, bright space with ample sidewalk seating in the Marina packs a legit happy-hour punch for an introduction to chef/co-owner Melissa Perfit’s seafood dishes. Start with the $5 cured trout deviled eggs, with the oils from the fish melding divinely with a dash of fine olive oil sinking into the canals around the filling inside of the egg white — definitely as delicious as it sounds. The grab a pair of BBQ oysters for $8, or venture into the main menu for the Velma grilled oysters with nori, yuzu and trout roe surrounded by compound butter. Cava, a French white and Portuguese rosé are all just $7, and if you come on Tuesdays, wildly fresh Miyagi oysters are $2 all day. There’s hardly a more lovely corner of the city for a glass of wine and a dozen oysters.

2095 Chestnut St


Daily, 2:30-5 p.m.

Sitting outside on the patio at Waterbar, looking out at the Bay Bridge, might just be the most scenic happy hour in the city. If you opt to stay inside, you’ll feel the same grandeur sitting at their gorgeous wraparound bar. It’s a beautiful Embarcadero destination with a $1.55 daily featured oyster special served with a hibiscus apple mignonette. The happy hour beer selection is $5, wine is $8 and cocktails are $10. Once happy hour is over, expand beyond these and try one of Beverage Director Valentina Moyà’s memorable drinks, like the Queen Bee with Barr Hill Gin, St. Germain, Lillet, chamomile, prosecco, honey and lemon.

399 The Embarcadero

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Park Chalet

Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m.

On the far edge of Golden Gate Park, across the street from the crashing waves of Ocean Beach, Park Chalet has the most thorough happy hour menu in town. While sister restaurant Beach Chalet offers an iconic dining experience upstairs, it’s the open-air dining room and grassy patio at Park Chalet that totally rules for soaking in the sun over house-brewed beers and diverse bites. All draft beers are $4. Head brewer Marco Tapiz’s Presidio IPA and the more tropical Sea Serpent IPA are killer; meanwhile, the VFW is one of S.F.’s best long-standing locally-made light beers. Start with a half dozen oysters for $14, then move into crispy buttermilk fried calamari for $8. There’s also taco, slider and wing specials to be had in this sweeping backyard patio.

1000 Great Highway


Monday-Friday, 5-8 p.m.

Time melts away when you’re sitting down at this Castro haunt on Upper Market. Blackbird’s happy hour has been so steady for so long — plus, I just love how expansive the space is; on a random weekday, it’s spacious enough to feel like you have your own small domain within it all, no matter where you’re sitting. Proper cocktails and beers are $1 off, including a house Old Fashioned, Aperol Spritz and rotating selection of local brews on draft from Temescal, Standard Deviant, etc. Oh, and you’re more than likely gonna hear solid gold ’90s R&B on the speakers. This is simply a wonderful spot for a catch-up with a friend.  

2124 Market St


Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m.

Quickly establishing itself as one of the most versatile spaces in the city, Cavaña — which was named one of Tales of the Cocktails’s top new cocktail bars in the U.S. — recently launched their La Hora Dorada happy hour, and it crushes. The multiculturally Latin-focused bar has drink specials led by a Margarita that’s downright transportive and a game-changing Michelada Verde with tomatillo, cilantro, cucumber, pineapple, lime and Tajín. Chef Edwin Bayone III’s chicharron de pollo (fried chicken thighs with coriander crema, salsa macha and herbed cucumber) is an absolute show-stealer, while the guacamole is an easy call to start. The latest full cocktail menu feels like a trip around the world, highlighted by drinks like the Feijoa, with Cañada rum from Oaxaca, Bolivian singani, New Zealand feijoa, honeydew lime leaf apéritif, lime and egg white (yes, please). Cavaña is a great spot for an upscale happy hour before a Giants game across the street, and the late afternoon rooftop views (of the city and the ballpark!) are truly golden. 

100 Channel St, 17th Floor

Wine Down

Monday-Friday, 4-6 p.m.

While San Francisco’s SOMA and Financial District after-work scene hasn’t completely recovered since the pandemic, there’s something incredibly commendable about how the bright and sunny, women-owned Wine Down has kept chugging along through these valleys. Owned by Sarah Garand and Jaime Hiraishi, Wine Down is committed to featuring mostly small-production California wines from women, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC winemakers. Happy hour has $5 off carafes of wine and $9 pours of intriguing selections like Terah’s Orange Falanghina. Meanwhile, $7 drafts from local breweries like Harmonic, Laughing Monk and Fieldwork pair nicely with mushroom empanadas or charcuterie plates featuring local cheeses. This is a top-notch wine bar (and more) that even has a monthly wine club showcasing favorite bottles. 

685 Folsom St


Tuesday-Friday, 3-5 p.m.

Noe Valley’s Billingsgate is probably the only full-service fish market in town that sports a happy hour. On a charming stretch of 24th Street, you can get half off cava and fresh oysters — like briny shigoku and St. Simon — from one of the best seafood counters in town. If Billingsgate’s oysters might hit a little different, it’s because the fishmonger is part of local seafood purveyor Four Star Seafood, which provides fish to restaurants and markets all over the Bay Area. There’s a half dozen two-top tables inside by the fish counter and two coveted sidewalk tables outside. The menu also features poke with your choice of fish, along with cioppino, seafood salads and other delights. When you’re done with happy hour, definitely look to take home fresh fish for dinner, like Mt. Lassen trout, king salmon and local rockfish, along with something from the fresh produce and herbs selection to help you prepare it.

3859 24th St

The Madrigal

Tuesday-Saturday, 9 p.m. onwards

For all of the afternoon happy hours in the city, there aren’t nearly enough late-night ones. Enter the Madrigal, which offers a badass happy hour that’s especially friendly for the post-concert crowd at nearby venues off of Van Ness like Davies Symphony Hall and Rickshaw Stop. Get started with $7 beers, plus $10 wine and cocktails (the Tough Honey with Scotch, ginger and honey is aces), before digging into a house burger with truffle aioli, or the real lifesaver, a “Breakfast on a Bun” with house-made sausage, fried egg, cheddar and hash browns on a potato bun for only $9. There’s ample seating in the crescent-shaped booth area along the window, but if it’s not busy, saddle up at the bar for the best vibes. This is a rare late-night find that does things right.

100 Van Ness Ave

PLS on Post

Monday-Friday, 4-6:30 p.m.

Inside of the Hotel Zeppelin, PLS on Post is a classic rock-and-roll and smashburger joint right off of Union Square that has some seriously boozy shakes. Happy hour features a rotating $5 cocktail like a Smoky Margarita, $6 draft beers and sangria, plus discounts on all food and shakes. So yeah…about those? Flavors like Cookies and Cream and the peanut-buttery Choco Nut are served in pretty decadent fashion, especially when you add a shot of peanut butter whiskey. It all pairs well with the Classic American smashburger heaped with caramelized onions, or the Korean Smash with gochujang cucumbers and Korean slaw. It’s a fun room, spruced up with Jerry Garcia ephemera and the Zeppelin’s groovy ’60s decor and psychedelic motifs. 

545 Post St


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