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Cocktails at Anina
Photograph: Sarah Chorey Cocktails at Anina

The best singles bars in San Francisco where you can actually meet people

adHooking up is hard to do—unless you know where to go. Read on for the city’s best singles bars in San Francisco made for meeting new people.

By Amy Sherman and Lauren Sheber

Sure the Internet is basically the world’s biggest singles bar, but that doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to swiping left or right. There’s still something to be said for getting out of the house and meeting someone new the old fashioned way—in a bar. Fortunately, there's a singles bar in San Francisco for everyone and anyone who is on the prowl. Whether you are looking for a hook up, a booty call or true everlasting love, there’s a spot for you. Choose from casual spots in the Mission with outdoor patios, a downtown beer hall or the hottest cruise bar in SoMaThese bars are welcome proof that that seeking connections with living, breathing humans doesn't have to be soul-sucking.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in San Francisco

Best singles bars in San Francisco

El Rio
Photograph: Flickr/Amy Halverson

1. El Rio

Bars Dive bars Bernal Heights

This beloved, decades-old dive embodies all-inclusive San Francisco at its finest, welcoming a colorful cross-section of the city—young and old, gay and straight. The dog-friendly patio is huge and inviting, while inside you’ll find shuffleboard and pool tables, a trusty old jukebox, and an anything-goes dance floor where bands, DJs, burlesque dancers and karaoke kings perform nightly. In warmer months, live bands play everything from salsa to bluegrass out back. Between the casually competitive bar games, chatty patio, and ongoing dance party, introductions happen naturally.

2. White Cap

Bars Cocktail bars Parkside

Layer up and head out to the Outer Sunset, where this comfortable, classy bar is serving inventive cocktails for a friendly crowd of artists and surfers. Owned and managed by Matt Lopez and Carlos Yturria—both avid surfers themselves—this spot attracts a contingent of laid-back neighborhood regulars. The space is unfussy, but thoughtfully designed, from the white cubic tiling to the turquoise bar stools and requisite reclaimed wood. Order up one of their rotating spiked-slushies and snag a seat near the cozy fireplace.


3. Americano

Restaurants Italian SoMa

This indoor-outdoor hotel bar abutting the Embarcadero wins points for the sheer volume of young, post-work locals that frequent it. During happy hour, Americano is perpetually slammed with button-down and blazer-clad twenty- and thirty-somethings converging from FiDi, SoMA, and Mid-Market. The happy hour specials—seasonal cocktails, wine, beer, and apps—are solid and the shabby-chic space offers plenty of seating and areas for small groups to mingle. It’s conveniently just a couple blocks from BART or Muni, whether you’re planning on heading home after your drink or bar hopping with a new beau.

Mikkeller Bar
Photograph: Noelle Chun

4. Mikkeller Bar

Bars Beer bars Tenderloin

Mikkeller, the Copenhagen-born craftbrew powerhouse, has single-handedly transformed the Tenderloin’s beer scene. The high-ceilinged, exposed brick bar is industrial-cool, decked with playful murals by Keith Shore and all 40 taps are stocked with interesting ales and lagers (particularly sours), including regular limited-edition collaborations. The 80-seat space is sexy, but laid-back, with plenty of room to circulate between the main bar, the front lounge with its open communal tables, and the downstairs cellar room, but the focal point is the 30-seat, four-sided bar ideal for scoping out alluring strangers.

Photograph: Noelle Chun

5. Zeitgeist

Bars Beer bars Mission

This old-school San Francisco staple, a metal-blasting beer bar with a biker’s aesthetic, has one of the best day-drinking patios in the city, in spite of—or maybe because of—its lack of frills. Neighborhood regulars, hipsters and friendly long-haired riff raff mingle out back, crowded into rustic picnic tables surrounded by wacky murals. The overworked bartenders may take their time getting to you but it’s worth it for one of the dive’s legendary Bloody Marys (served all day) or a pitcher of local craft beer from one of their extensive selection of taps.

The roofdeck at Everdene with a view of the skyline and red lounge seating
Photograph: Courtesy Everdene

6. Everdene

Bars Cocktail bars Yerba Buena

Loud, but chic and somehow seductive, Everdene is named for Bathsheba Everdene, the heroine of British author Thomas Hardy's novel Far From The Madding Crowd. Located inside the Virgin Hotel. it’s also the hottest new rooftop bar in SF with plenty of indoor and outdoor space. It’s swanky with a fun and playful feel, a wrap around bar and stunning views of downtown, Nob Hill and even Twin Peaks.

Photograph: Courtesy Anina

7. Anina

Bars Cocktail bars Hayes Valley

Brass Tacks owners Anthony Healy-London, Josh McAdam, and Matt Conway opened their second bar in spring 2016—the polar opposite of their first. Where Brass Tacks is dark, loud and moody, Anina is bright, airy and summery with Moroccan tiles, a palm-frond mural and a sunny, eight-table patio. Spritzes and aperitivos are designed for pre-dinner sipping, while $46 large format punch bowls are meant to be shared (sloppily).

Photograph: Garrett Gooch, Courtesy Oasis

8. Oasis

Nightlife SoMa

Whether you’ve come to Oasis for a drag show or a dance party, you’ll feel an instant sense of camaraderie walking through the door of this LGBTQ club and event venue. In true 1970s Vegas variety-show-style, seating for shows is arranged in pairs and quads around shared tables. The shmoozing and boozing goes into overdrive on some Friday and Saturday nights, when the intimate space transforms into a sweaty dance floor. You don’t have to be queer to have a blast but if you hope to bring someone home, it helps.

Photograph: Courtesy Alyssa Pereira

9. Powerhouse

Bars Dive bars SoMa

This leather and cruise bar has got drag, fetish, queer pole, underwear nights, go-go dancers, and is generally the center for raunchy fun. You’ll find house music or electronica, cheap drinks and no attitude. Nondescript from the outside, inside it’s a flashy, sexy, old school gay bar. An out-and-proud pick up spot.

10. Radhaus

Restaurants Gastropubs Fort Mason

In the tradition of Suppenkuche and Biergarten, Fort Mason’s newest German beer hall is made for friends, those you know and those you haven’t met yet. Filled with natural light, Radhaus pays homage to this former Army machine shop with quiet industrial touches. An open floor plan set with communal benches and an oversized bar, keeps beer-and-pretzel lovers close for shared marveling at panoramic views of the Bay through the restaurant’s wall of windows.


11. Last Rites

Bars Duboce Triangle

There’s a slightly sinister twist to the Duboce Triangle’s new tiki bar, Last Rites. Set in the hollowed out innards of a downed plane, here the island kitsch—jungle vines and stone idols—is of a Temple of Doom-inspired variety; just ask any one of the fallen masses whose skulls line the top shelf of the bar. The drinks here, in proper tiki form, are strong and sweet and punch bowls like the Flying Tiger, a high-flying combination of rum, banana liqueur, absinthe, lemon, molasses and clarified milk, are perfect for sharing with fellow doomed passengers along for the ride.

12. The Brixton on 2nd

Restaurants American South Beach

With its proximity to the ballpark, it’s not surprising to find athletes here. The vibe is friendly and the new American comfort food is actually very good. There’s a long bar as well as a communal table and a cool sophisticated interior that feels fresh and inviting. High ceilings give the space an airy feel but with a bit of a rock and roll edge. It’s a bar, a restaurant, and a space where you can watch the game or just relax and meet someone new.

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