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Kaiyō rooftop bar, San Francisco
Photograph: Courtesy KaiyōKaiyō rooftop bar, San Francisco

The best rooftop bars in San Francisco

Drinking is truly elevated by the best rooftop bars San Francisco has to offer

Written by
Lauren Sheber
,
Shoshi Parks
&
Clara Hogan
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San Francisco rooftop bars are few and far between — which is surprising in a city with temperate weather year-round and stunning views around every corner. But the sky-high bars that do exist in the city are some of the best places to grab a drink in town, and to be fair, the number of them has finally expanded in just the last year. Newcomers like Rise Over Run in the brand new LINE Hotel and local favorite Good Good Culture Club are some of the hottest openings in the city. 

Our favorite rooftop bars in San Francisco are perfect places for a refreshing cocktail or glass of wine to celebrate any occasion, whether it's a date night or an average Friday night. They're a great choice during those scorching hot days, but also a good pick year-round with most locations offering heaters on chillier evenings. One thing's for sure, of all the places where you can kick back with a drink in San Francisco (cocktail bars, breweries, speakeasieswine bars), those with fresh air and awe-inspiring vistas always come out on top. 

RECOMMENDED: Complete guide to the best bars in San Francisco

Best rooftop bars in San Francisco

Charmaine's, the Proper Hotel's rooftop bar, has a city-inspired cocktail menu crafted by Josh Harris and Morgan Schtick of Trick Dog fame. The roof deck, perched 120 feet over Market Street, is stylish, but the vibe is laid-back—largely due to its hoodie- and t-shirt-clad tech patrons. Bar snacks come courtesy of Chef Jason Fox, formerly of Michelin-starred Commonwealth, who heads up Villon, the restaurant below.

The newest rooftop in San Francisco, opening in October 2022, sits atop the much-anticipated LINE Hotel in the mid-market Tenderloin neighborhood. Rise Over Run is a lush sky-high terrace and solarium with panoramic views of San Francisco. The cocktail menu is crafted by local beverage consultant Danny Louie — grab a drink arond a fire pit or inside the greenhous, where you can grab a bite from the food menu prepared by Executive Chef Joe Hou who has worked at Michelin-starred and James Beard Award-winning restaurants, including Per Se and the NoMad In New York City.

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Open in January 2022 by Jeff Hanak and Ravi Kapur in the same location as their last restaurant, Liholiho Yacht Club, Good Good Culture Club offers a vibrant restaurant with an ecclectic menu inspired by Asian flavors, the chef's Hawaiian roots and California ingredients. Some may not realize the restaurant also offers a rooftop — with colorful art, lush greenery, and a glow from the city, this is a perfect place to grab a cocktail or two.

This Latin American-inspired hotspot is one of the best-equipped rooftop bars in the city—which explains the constant crowds. Arrive before 5pm to avoid a wait; those lucky enough to snag a post-work table tend to linger. The open-air rooftop is bordered by glass walls—a welcome shield from breezes—and outfitted with sun-shading umbrellas and high-powered heat lamps. Happy hour runs from 4pm to 6pm, which includes $5 beers, bar bites (go for the chili-spiced fried plantains), and $7 margaritas. 

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Mini-olive trees are nestled under a canopy of heat lamps at this elevated outdoor bar at 25 Lusk. Rooftop25's playful menu offers boozy slushies (we love the Spicy Passionfruit Margarita), bottled piña coladas and wood-fired pizzas like the Pizza#2, loaded with bratwurst sausage, fennel, shaved apple and oregano. Get there early to catch a great view of the sunset from the west-facing deck.

The location of this extremely popular pizza and pasta restaurant is a big factor in drawing crowds. An impressive bar is also a contributing factor and the delicious cocktails, created by veteran bar director Candice Meierdirk, served on the tastefully designed rooftop deck, are reason enough to make plans to spend whole evenings here. There are now three locations of this awesome eatery dotted around San Francisco, but the Sunset District is our favorite—it's also the only one, currently, that serves that all-important contribution to western civilized society, brunch.

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The dining room at the Palm Court in the recently opened Restoration Hardware along Pier 70 is a complete stunner:  the live-fire restaurant sits within a jaw-dropping atrium of glass and steel, with a center fountain sculpted of Calacatta gold marble, recalling the glamour of San Francisco’s Gilded Age. Outside, you'll find the Rooftop Park, a garden space with spectacular views of the city's skyline where you can sip cocktails to the sound of trickling fountains.

This exclusive ballpark-adjacent roof deck is only accessible if you book a room or host an event—luckily, that 'event' can number as small as six people. While snagging a reservation can be pricey (starting at around $1,000 for a private cabana), its prime location and stunning views are splurge-worthy. On chilly nights, this roof deck is downright cozy, thanks to fire pits, ample heat lamps, and stiff cocktails.

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Located on the 12th floor of the Hyatt Place Hotel in the SOMA district directly next door to the Giants stadium, the Kaiyo Rooftop bar offers stunning view over the San Francisco bay. The spinoff venue from Cow Hollow’s Kaiyō has a distinct tropical vacation vibe with lush greenery, palm trees and vibrant colors throughout. There really isn't a bad seat in the house here and the interior aesthetic, with the large, oversized bar, emerald green tiles, curved arches and hanging woven lanterns completes the experience.

It may be sandwiched between a Nordstrom Rack and a Trader Joe’s, but this fifth-story hotel bar is surprisingly sexy. Tucked atop the Hotel Zelos, the spot isn’t known for views but as a stylish, upscale destination for craft cocktails. The landscaped terrace is outfitted with gas fireplaces and a range of indoor-outdoor seating, from bar stools to cushy leather sofas. Though the atmosphere inside is moody, the deck is more laid-back (you'll still want to make a reservation, though, the outdoor space usually fills up in advance.) Cocktails by bar manager Raul Ayala are inventive, incorporating tea, spices, and fresh herbs.

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Jones is only on the second story, but trust us, you won’t mind. Enter through the wrought iron gates (they’re easy to miss), scale the stairs, and emerge onto an open-air terrace decked with string lights and palms. This raucous Tenderloin bar is a scene-y happy hour spot, thanks to the ample seating and three bars. The perch affords views of FiDi, the Transamerica Pyramid, and the TL below. There’s an all-around arty vibe, from the glowing neon signs to the surrounding murals. Happy hour runs from 5pm to 7pm, offering $5 wine and cocktails, and $3 beers.

This staple of San Fransico's downtown dining scene has been around for a decade, offering consistently delicious fresh California cuisine. The menu is focused on high-quality, locally sourced ingredients infused with global flavors and served family style among shared plates. It also includes an artisanal market featuring local food artisans. Many don't know Bluestem features an upstairs patio overlooking the downtown streets, complete with heat lamps and all. 

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