This longtime sports bar off Market is as close as you’ll get to San Francisco’s version of Cheers. Many of the bartenders have been working here for a decade or more, and the throwback décor weeds out the new money crowd. It’s a great spot to watch the game, and an equally good spot to have a meandering conversation (the TV is muted on purpose). You’ll shell out $5 for mixed drinks or beers and $10 for a pint and a shot of Jameson. Most bar-goers are eating nachos, for no real reason other than the guy next to him got them and—after three drinks—they looked pretty good. They are.
Graffiti-covered walls, dated decor and dingy bathrooms send some running to their nearest mixologist. For others, it’s the mark of an authentic bar. From a taxidermy-decked honky-tonk to a Chinatown joint that time forgot, here are the best pretension-free dive bars in the city. Order quickly and bring cash. It’s what a real San Franciscan would do.
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