The best speakeasies in San Francisco

Check out the best speakeasies in San Francisco. These hidden cocktail dens for perfect for escaping the crowds.
Oddjob
Photograph: Courtesy Oddjob
By Virginia Miller |
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Prohibition may be over, but San Francisco is still a sucker for secrecy. Welcome to the boozy realm of secret passwords, trick doors, alleyway buzzers and basement hideaways at the best speakeasies in San Francisco. From clandestine back rooms (inside some of the best restaurants in San Francisco) to intimate apothecary dens to a literal bank vault, it might take a little extra work to find these bars—but it’s worth it.

RECOMMENDED: The best bars in San Francisco

Speakeasies in San Francisco

1
Benjamin Cooper
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Justine T.
Bars, Cocktail bars

Benjamin Cooper

icon-location-pin Union Square

Hidden upstairs via an unmarked staircase near Union Square, Benjamin Cooper boasts a talented bartending team, an engaging soundtrack and elevated bar snacks like fresh oysters. Creative cocktails—like the Tony Wonder, made with reposado tequila, Lo-Fi dry vermouth, kumquats, honey, mint, citric acid and club soda—keep regulars packed around the dim and intimate center bar.

2
Dalva
Photograph: Yelp/Per C.
Bars

The Hideout at Dalva

icon-location-pin Mission Dolores

The semi-secret Hideout in the back of Mission dive bar Dalva is actually rather well known. Focused around one tiny bar in a dimly lit, small room, guest bartenders (only one at a time can fit behind the bar) craft drinks to your preferences or from a short, changing menu. House drinks include favorites like The Hideout Swizzle #2 with gin, genepy, lime, pineapple and orange bitters.

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3
Linden Room
Photograph: Courtesy Linden Room
Bars

Linden Room

icon-location-pin Hayes Valley

At the back of the Nightbird restaurant hides the romantic, only-eight-seat Linden Room. Accessed through an alley off Gough Street, the bar team serves up seasonal cocktails (playing with ingredients you’ll find on Nightbird's tasting menu) as well as a more evergreen menu section called “Spirituous” and filled with boozy cocktails. 

4
Cold Drinks at China Live
Photograph: Virginia Miller
Bars, Cocktail bars

Cold Drinks

icon-location-pin Russian Hill

Hidden inside Chinatown’s massive China Live, Cold Drinks feels like an escape to a high-end bar in a major Asian city, with Blade Runner-esque wall tiles, a dramatic marble bar, velvet gray couches and green and gold accents. Their rich Scotch collection and elegant whisky cocktails suit every palate.

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5
Oddjob
Photograph: Courtesy Oddjob
Bars

SRO at Oddjob

icon-location-pin SoMa

Head to the side alley entrance of SoMa’s Odd Job to find SRO (Standing Room Only), a tiny bar-within-a-bar where you can get unique customized drinks to suit your mood. SRO bartenders know their spirits and don’t go with the expected. Ingredient options range from the likes of horseradish to lavender-smoked kumquats, while house infusions might feature Chinese licorice-infused bourbon or watermelon radish-infused Old Tom Gin. SRO only accommodates 16 people standing and hours can vary so call ahead to make sure they’re open.

6
15 Romolo
Photograph: Courtesy 15 Romolo
Restaurants

15 Romolo

icon-location-pin North Beach

Though technically not a speakeasy, 15 Romolo is tucked away off a seedy stretch of Broadway Street. Boasting one of the best jukebox playlists in town and a strong food menu, the bar has long set the standard for excellent cocktails. Their famed sherry selection includes rarities like sherry on draft and the annual Sherry Christmas menu in December.

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7
Wilson & Wilson
Photograph: Courtesy Wilson & Wilson
Bars

Wilson & Wilson

icon-location-pin Tenderloin

There are multiple hidden bars and spaces within Bourbon & Branch but Wilson & Wilson is the most accessible. Like B&B, the long, narrow room is reservation only—look for the window market Wilson & Wilson Private Detective Agency. The rotating cocktail menus are exquisite, sometimes named after classic films, with signature drinks like the Charlie Chan (black tea-infused Karlsson’s vodka, coconut marmalade, black pepper, clove, lemon, ginger). 

8
Deluxe Tots at WesBurger 'N' More
Photograph: Courtesy WesBurger 'N' More
Restaurants

WesBurger ‘N’ More

icon-location-pin Mission

The Den wins for tiniest bar in San Francisco. The closet-sized punch bar adjacent to WesBurger has no sign, but look for the jungle-like foliage and glowing red light emanating from the miniscule storefront. Cozy up to your friends with calypso music and a low ABV drink selection of beer, wine, sake, cider, a punch fountain and rotating drink specials including collaborations with neighbors like Mission Chinese. The Den’s late-night food menu (11pm-3am) includes irresistible dishes like a pimento grilled cheese sandwich with strawberry jalapeno jelly.

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9
Remedie
Photograph: Courtesy Remedie
Bars

Remedie at Devil's Acre

icon-location-pin Jackson Square

If you want to hide away from crowds passing by on Columbus Ave on Friday and Saturday nights, head past Devil’s Acre's spacious pre-Prohibition-style bar and head to the basement where you'll find Remedie, a speakeast with a vintage cocktail shaker machine. 

10
Marianne's
Photograph: Courtesy Marianne's
Bars

Marianne’s

icon-location-pin Yerba Buena

Tucked away inside The Cavalier, Marianne’s (a tribute to the singer Marianne Faithfull) started as an invite- or members-only bar—but the public finally gained access in 2016. The Ken Fulk-designed space is cozy and dimly-lit, lined with books, zebra-print alcove booths and chandeliers. There are bites from the Cavalier and changing drinks, some with rock music references like tgeh Rolling Stones tribute, Sticky Fingers, made with rye whiskey, Scotch, hazelnut liqueur, sweet vermouth, Grand Marnier and lemon bitters. 

The best cocktail bars in San Francisco
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