The Best Hotel Bars in San Francisco

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Updated February 15, 2024 3:08 pm
Bartender pouring a cocktail from a shaker into a glass on a dark wooden bar in front of shelves with bottles and a large art print on the wall
Pied Piper
Pied Piper

San Francisco is an incredible city to go out in. Never mind all the doom loop naysayers — there’s never a shortage of fun things to do here. And one thing that the city certainly excels in is its world-class hotel bars.

While timeless spots like the Tonga Room at the Fairmont — with it’s tiki kitsch and indoor pool stage — and the panoramic Top of The Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel laid the historic foundation for the category, these other eight watering holes are the creme de la creme of SF’s vibrant, accessible and bustling hotel bar scene. From sweeping rooftops to classic cocktail culture and flat out dynamite drinks, these are the best hotel bars in San Francisco.

Interior of Rise Over Run bar, with full glass windows along the floor and ceiling and low top tables
Rise Over Run
Leyla Ismen

Rise Over Run

Downtown SF rooftop bars are booming, and Rise Over Run at The LINE Hotel is one of the most eclectic products since opening in late 2022. There’s diverse seating options in the 185-seat space, from fire pit booths and heated two-tops outside, to hi-tops and the bar counter in the glass-walled solarium. Each yields unique vantage points of mid-market high-rises and parts of the Downtown skyline. 

The drinks and food here really take the cake. The bar program, helmed by Danny Louie — an alum of Michelin-starred Mister Jiu’s — skews towards Southeast Asian influences. The Negroni Coast has unmistakable aromas of toasted coconut and the beautiful herbaceousness of Thai basil. That basil shows up again in the One Way Ticket, along with Japanese whiskey, coconut, peach and lime, a joy to sip with the tamarind and peanut-dotted Singapore cabbage salad. The fried chicken “bucket” is presented in a golden birdcage with buttery biscuits and dips, while the crudo trio features dressed up hamachi, salmon and octopus. 

There’s jazz fusion programming every last Tuesday, local DJ’s every first Thursday and more special events. With rumblings of a speakeasy opening downstairs at The LINE SF too, it’s hotel bars like Rise Over Run that’ll be leading San Francisco’s downtown renaissance.

33 Turk St

Hotel bar area with several large printed couches under a hanging chandelier and in front of large dark-colored bar with a tall bar rack in the center behind it
The Third Floor
Garrett Rowland/Joseph Weaver

The Third Floor

A stone’s throw away from the iconic Transamerica Pyramid, The Third Floor at The Jay might be the most comprehensive hotel bar experience in San Francisco. From the esteemed Omakase Restaurant Group, oysters with Champagne espuma, smoky squid and the perfectly poached shrimp of the petite seafood tower show the marvelous vision of Executive Chef Michael Magallenes. Hearty yakitori skewers like tare-glazed chicken thigh and shiso and king trumpet mushroom are delightful, while the chicken katsu sandwich — a chicken thigh cutlet wrapped in tsukune (chicken meatball) then panko-crusted — is a revelation. 

The Terrace cocktail, with gin, Suze and Lillet, is simple and spectacular. The Mezcaloma — made with mezcal, spiced grapefruit, Select Aperitivo, lime, ginger, honey and club soda — is a smooth twist on a classic Paloma. Walk up the three-story circular staircase upon arrival, and you’ll be welcomed by an elegantly-designed bar, spherical-themed dining areas and a gorgeous terrace. With excellent service to boot, The Third Floor is the kind of place that’ll make you want to go out for drinks in San Francisco more often.

433 Clay St


There are two unique personalities to Chambers at The Phoenix Hotel. One is a dimly lit cocktail and dinner lounge, adorned with vintage vinyl bookshelf walls to fawn over while listening to 2000s indie jams. Order the chicory Caesar salad and one of the low key best and most reasonably priced NY steak preparations in town before heading out for a concert at Great American Music Hall, just a few minutes walk away. 

The other is a Sunday summer poolside party series with big name DJs like Flight Facilities, A-Trak and Sango. A dozen bartenders set up outside to keep the beverages flowing, with no lines ever. “Our pet peeve is lines,” general manager Auggie Apodaca jokes. There’s even a drag brunch on deck as winter starts to wear off. 

601 Eddy St

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Pied Piper

Ever sat at a steakhouse bar while waiting for a table that was so comfortable you almost wanted to stay there all night instead? That’s Pied Piper at the historic Palace Hotel in the Financial District. Everything about this place speaks to a classic San Francisco experience. You’re greeted with pimento-stuffed olives and potato chips in golden chalices, the legendary Pied Piper mural by artist Maxfield Parrish is ever-present in the room and the cocktails — oh the cocktails!

Pied Piper is a haven of SF cocktail culture and history, with bartenders who’ve worked here for decades. They serve up the Boothby Cocktail — created by early 1900s SF bartending trailblazer William Boothby — a Manhattan with a float of bubbles that just works on every level. Named after the former president, Harding’s Old Fashioned has Basil Hayden’s bourbon, ruby Port and fernet. The Scotch selection features a no frills collection of standards, and Napa cabs stud the wine list. 

The food? Classic again. Start with the unreal quail Scotch egg and perfectly seared scallops, followed by a Wagyu beef burger or incredible filet mignon for mains. And the Green Goddess salad is a must, which was originally concocted at The Palace. The mosaic tile in the back ballroom, Emperor Norton iconography and The Palace’s signature glass ceiling feel right out of a Wes Anderson film. Not only is this one of the best hotel bars in San Francisco, — it’s one of the best in the entire country. 

2 New Montgomery St

Rooftop seating area with couches, firepits, plants and view of the city
Manolo Yllera


Completely remodeled in 2020, Charmaine’s rooftop at the Proper Hotel offers multiple stunning views of the city. Open late, it feels like being in an ornate-yet-modern penthouse space. A large triangular patio looks out towards the Embarcadero on one side, a narrow and cozy side patio faces a living room-like fireplace lounge and there’s a very cool bird’s eye view of Upper Market’s lit up thoroughfare. 

Cocktails by BVHospitality (of Trick Dog fame) are all named after cats, as is the theme at Charmaine’s. The Lovecats (I love a good Cure reference) marries tequila and mezcal with Averna, strawberry, lemon and cinnamon. The On The Moon Martini (shout out to Dr. Seuss) is dirty but not salty, strong and bold but also refreshing and garnished with a pickle. And if you’re feeling baller, the reserve liquor list has wow-inducing rare pours. 

Starting with chef Jason Fox’s buttery pretzels and smoked pimento cheese dip are a must, as are pork belly skewers with yuzu, black sesame and chives. The Japanese cheesecake with blueberry compote and sticky honeycomb crunchies is a real treat that pairs well with Cognac by the fire with friends. 

45 McAllister St

Bar area with light wood fixtures, barstools and shelves full of bottles behind the wall
Lobby Bar
kelly puleio photo/Lobby Bar

Lobby Bar 

While most of the go-to hotel bar destinations are towards SF’s more Downtown-centric enclaves, Lobby Bar at the boutique Hotel Castro is in the heart of the city’s historically gay neighborhood. Sharing ownership with nearby Hi-Tops, Lobby Bar is all about the cocktails. Bar Manager Kelly Corso takes pride in showcasing unusual spirits like prickly pear mezcal in the Tia Reyes cocktail and LGBTQ-owned brands like La Condesa gin. 

The drinks list rotates every four months, and there are some serious bangers currently gracing the lineup, like the bold-but-balanced Choke Me Daddy, with rye, artichoke, lemon and peach. “You should always taste the spirit when you’re drinking it,” Corso says. “I’m not in the camp of masking a stiff drink.” The LCD Soundsystem-themed You Wanted A Mint is one of the most aromatic rum drinks I’ve had in recent memory, with a proprietary (and very secret) rum blend, Bitter Bianco, Dolin Blanc, house mint cane and lime. It’s a lively but intimate two-room interior, and the Andy Warhol wallpaper in the bathroom is a nice touch. 

4230 18th St, Unit A



Coming up on its two year anniversary, Cavaña at the chic LUMA Hotel masterfully incorporates the flavors of Latin America throughout its inventive drinks, exciting food and upbeat rooftop environment. That’s because managing partner and Bay Area bar industry vet Anthony Parks and his twin brother are half-Peruvian and were inspired by traveling throughout Central and South America. The Caipirinha instantly took me back to my native Brazil, while a DJ spun salsa and reggaeton on the intimate dance floor for a stylish crowd. A long sip of the Caña Parchita lets you take in every facet of Oaxacan aguardiente, Salvadoran rum, passionfruit, coconut, ancho chile, pineapple and lime, while the Elote Pasilla — with Mexican corn whiskey, reposado tequila, blackened corn, pasilla chile and bitter vermouth — is tops. And the mezcal flights are reason alone to come to Cavaña.

The floor plan opens up to multiple patios overlooking San Francisco’s Mission Bay on one end and the Downtown skyline on the other. You see the many touchstones of San Francisco wherever you’re sitting or standing. 

Chef Edwin Bayone III’s warm and jovial persona comes through in his food offerings, from oysters with aguachile rojo, to white corn arepas with brisket stew, black beans, peppers and cotija cheese. It can get busy here, with long lines downstairs to join the party on weekends, but that’s because the pre and post-Chase Center hot spot has managed to create a welcoming, family-run atmosphere that’s not often seen at hotel bars. Cavaña knows what it wants to be and executes it well.

100 Channel St, 17th Floor

Rooftop bar area with a long row of tables, chairs and booth seats overlooking the city

Kaiyō Rooftop

Walking up to the Hyatt Place SF, you can see the entrance to Oracle Park before heading up to Kaiyo Rooftop. It’s no surprise that out-of-town baseball fans often frequent the hotel bar when visiting San Francisco during the season. What they find is a haven for Peruvian Nikkei cuisine — a fusion of Peru’s Japanese and Latin melting pot — and craft cocktails that also tip a cap to San Francisco. Akko’s Secret Cocktail merges Hennessy with yuzu liqueur and Kilgore Japanese whisky. A Toki highball machine churns out immaculate bubbly delights. 

The menu is filled with fun shareable bites like tuna tataki with red miso leche de tigre for an umami sweetness and gooseberries for tartness. Fresh sashimi contrasts with flaky, buttery empanadas served with rococo aioli and the must-have miso butter corn ribs. This is an intimate space that’s open late, and the newly-minted glass windows make for a wind-resistant, year-round destination.

701 3rd St, 12th Floor


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