There’s nothing quite like enjoying a mixed cocktail and eating appetizers with friends on a rooftop deck overlooking the city skyline. Rooftop bars offer the best of both worlds: a chance to drink and dine al fresco and get a bird’s-eye view of the city. While it is true that cities like New York and Chicago are better known for their elevated drinking holes, San Francisco also has a few gems hidden amongst its many hills. They range from cozy lounges where you can catch the game to luxury hotel bars with jaw-dropping views of San Francisco’s famous skyline. Whether you want to hang with the locals or sip cocktails next to beautiful people, these rooftop bars offer a little something for everyone.
With views of the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, and San Francisco’s gorgeous downtown skyline, it’s easy to see why KAIYŌ Rooftop is one of the most popular lounges in town. Perched 12 stories high on top of the Hyatt Place Hotel in the SOMA district, the lounge specializes in Nikkei cuisine, a fusion of Peruvian flavors applied with a Japanese touch. This fusion extends to KAIYŌ’s décor, which combines Peruvian and Japanese design elements, evidenced by its vibrant green foliage. Its also located across the street from Oracle Park, making it a perfect meetup spot for cocktails and shareable appetizers before the game.
This Latin-inspired rooftop bar is one of San Francisco’s most popular spots for happy hour. It sits above the Lolinda Steakhouse and offers impressive views of the Mission District. Happy hour is 4-6pm Mon-Fri, featuring Latin American Street food, sangria pitchers, and heat lamps to keep you warm.
Charmaine’s is found on top of the Proper Hotel, one of San Francisco’s swankiest luxury hotels. Part exotic Euro-inspired indoor lounge and part sexy garden rooftop deck, this bar is full of atmosphere. It has some of the best appetizers and cocktails around. Perched 120 feet above Market Street, the skyline views are stunning, and the fire pits on the outdoor terrace are there to keep you warm on chilly nights.
SoMa is home to Rooftop 25, located atop Chef Dolan’s 25 Lusk. The outdoor bar’s décor is covered with mahogany wood, adding rustic sophistication to its casual atmosphere. The bar serves frozen and specialty cocktails, but its food menu is what makes it a true standout. The wood fire oven turns out Neapolitan-style pizzas, octopus tacos, chops, and steaks that are delicious and served with a side of downtown views 50 feet above the city.
What 620 Jones lacks in some of the views of the other rooftop bars on our list, it more than makes up for its downtown location and sexy vibe. This Lower Nob Hill outdoor joint is one of the largest in San Francisco. It sports three bars, heated and covered outdoor spaces, and live music complements its chic and relaxed atmosphere. The happy hour menu features $5 drinks and appetizers that keep the after-work crowds coming back.
Dirty Habit is your place if you’re looking for an upscale rooftop bar with a lounge vibe. Located on the 5th floor of Hotel Zelos, the dark décor sets the mood for a quiet, intimate evening. Dirty Habit offers beautifully crafted cocktails and a wine cellar that showcases some of the finest Sonoma and Napa Valley wines. The drink menu pairs perfectly with their small plate menu. You can kick back and lounge inside the dining area or venture outdoors to the fully heated patio.
Rooftop at VIA
The Rooftop at VIA has them all beat to spectacular San Francisco skyline views. 12 stories high, this luxurious outdoor bar sits atop South Beach’s Hotel Vitale, offering private cabanas, open fire pits, and stunning 360-degree views of the city and the Bay. It’s also adjacent to Oracle Park, where you can catch a Giants game after having your fill of mouthwatering Mediterranean tapas and refreshing handcrafted cocktails. Unfortunately, the bar is only available to hotel guests and private events, but getting a room in the hotel is well worth it for this one-of-a-kind experience.
B Restaurant & Bar
Located on the top floor of San Francisco’s Moscone Center, B is a 400-seat restaurant and bar with floor-to-ceiling windows and striking views of Yerba Buena Gardens and the San Francisco Bay. Its outdoor terrace has a 25-foot terrazzo embedded concrete bar and wine barrel stools perfect for enjoying their gourmet cocktails or Sonoma and Napa Valley wines. The menu changes seasonally and features fresh, local ingredients that pair nicely with the upscale yet casual atmosphere. And we’d be remiss to not mention the views of the $1 oysters at happy hour, which are available Tuesday-Saturday from 4:30pm to 6:30pm.