Where to Drink

The best rooftop bars in San Francisco

Raise your drinking game at some of San Francisco’s finest rooftop lounges, soaring above the foggy clouds.

From the best drinking spots in SoMa to bar hopping destinations in the Mission District, SF’s rooftop range is a bit scanty. For what it lacks in numbers, makes up for it in quality.

When the fog covers SF in its gloomy cold blanket, these rooftop bars not only keep you warm and cozy, but also offer a vantage point when the silver lining clears the path for a spectacular view.

Charmaine’s

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Charmaine's rooftop bar, Source: Website

Sitting atop Proper Hotel, 120 feet above the ground in Market Place, Charmaine’s is best described as a fusion of an energetic European terrace and laid back vibes of cool California. The outdoor seating is where you can cozy up next to the fire pits, and sip one of the city inspired cocktails, while taking in the views.

Try your hands on the Mister Bigglesworth cocktail made with Lot 40 Rye, El Silencio Mezcal, Apple Molé, and angostura & orange bitters, served on a big ice cube.

Location - 1100 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.

Timings - 5 pm to 10 pm (Monday to Wednesday)
                5 pm to 11 pm (Thursday)
                5 pm to 12 am (Friday)
                4 pm to 12 am (Saturday)
                4 pm to 10 pm (Sunday)

View on maps.

Rooftop 25

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Rooftop 25, Source: Facebook

Whether you are in the mood to bask in the sun during lazy afternoons, or cozy up on a terrace during chilly evenings, Rooftop 25 is the place to be at, embossed with wooden furnishings. Order something to eat from their oakwood fired oven dishes like pizzas, burgers, and the famous hotdog served in a pretzel bun. To flush down the delicious food, go for the Spicy Passionfruit Margarita cocktail made with Arette Blanco Tequila, jalapeno, passionfruit puree, lime, and espelette pepper.

Executive chef, Matthew Dolan, makes sure that all the ingredients are sustainably sourced from local farmers and fisherman. 

Location- 25 Lusk St, San Francisco, CA 94107.

Timings - Closed (Sunday to Monday)
                3 pm to 8 pm (Tuesday to Wednesday)
                3 pm to 9 pm (Thursday)
                12 pm to 10 pm (Friday to Saturday)

View on maps.

El Techo

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Drinking in the sun at El Techo, Source: Instagram

Catch the skyline views as you sip on classic cocktails like Pina Colada, La Paloma, and Margarita at El Techo in the Mission District. It is a great place to spend some hours drinking with your buddies, as breezy winds take turns to say hello. They also have a range of bottled beers and wine varietals for those looking for something other than cocktails.

If you have been looking to try a delicious cachaça cocktail, try the Dandara put together with cachaça, dry vermouth, lemongrass syrup, chareau, and lemon bitters.

Location- 3174 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103.

Timings - 4 pm to 2 am (Monday to Sunday)

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Read Next: 10 Bartenders and their favorite cocktails

Rooftop at Via

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Aerial view of Rooftop at Via, Source: Instagram

Entering this exclusive rooftop bar on top of Via Hotel is a bit tricky because you either need to be a guest at the hotel or need a special reservation to render their services. Offering views of the South Beach Harbor, Bay Bridge, and Oracle Park (home of San Francisco Giants), Rooftop at Via features private cabanas, heat lamps, and fire pits on the 12th floor.

Once you make your way to the bar, grab a pint of your favorite beer or ask the bartender to swirl up a cocktail of your choice.

Tip: you can book a yoga session at Rooftop at Via to avail access to the bar. 

Happy hours - 4 pm to 6 pm, 10 pm to 12 am

Location - 138 King St, San Francisco, CA 94107.

Timings - 4 pm to 12 am (Wednesday to Monday)
                4 pm to 10 pm (Tuesday)

View on maps.

Cityscape

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Sunset view from Cityscape, Source: Instagram

Enjoy panoramic views of the city from the tallest rooftop bar in San Francisco, Cityscape, located 46 stories above the Union Square plaza. The views don't get any better, as you can see as far as your eyesight permits, covering the hills and all that stretches out of the urban settlements. 

Treat yourself to a delightful cocktail made from Ketel One Vodka during One Hour Ketel One in the evenings from 5 pm to 6 pm. With a Ketel One drink you will be automatically drawn to win a one night stay at the Hilton San Francisco. Also, you will get a straight $2 discount on any drink you purchase at the bar in this particular window. 

The cocktails at the bar are named after the popular landmarks in and around San Francisco, like the Golden State, Cole Valley, Pacific Heights, and more. 

Location - 333 O'Farrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102.

Timings - Closed (Sunday to Wednesday)
                5 pm to 11 pm (Thursday)
                5 pm to 12 am (Friday to Saturday)

View on maps.

The View Lounge

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The View Lounge, Source: Website

Mount one of the high rise buildings in the heart of San Francisco and enjoy handcrafted cocktails, admiring the scenic spectacle from The View Lounge

For those who have been following the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you might find this posh rooftop bar a slight emulation of the Sanctum, where Dr. Strange hones his magic tricks.

There are quite a few classic cocktails on the list with a special twist such as the Fog City Collins made with Nolet's Silver Gin, St. Germain, and cucumber. 

Location - 780 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103.

Timings - Closed (Sunday to Monday)
                4 pm to 11 pm (Tuesday to Wednesday)
                4 pm to 12 am (Thursday to Saturday)

View on maps.

Top of the Mark

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Top of the Mark at Intercontinental Hotel, Source: Instagram

An age-old quintessential rooftop bar in San Francisco, Top of the Mark bathes in momentous glory that dates back to the time of World War II. Graced by various celebrities and dignitaries over the years, the rooftop lounge on the 19th floor has been a hub for signature martinis and creative cocktails since the last 80 years. 

Don't be surprised if you catch the servicemen enjoying the Squadron Shot, a tradition from the war days, as you enter the Intercontinental. Awaiting on the 19th floor, is an array of spirits at the bar that can be sipped neat or used in crafting cocktails. 

We honestly found this experience the most fun when it came to brushing up on history. Not that we remember a lot, after gulping down a few cocktails recommended by the bartender.

Location - 999 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108.

Timings - Closed (Sunday to Monday)
                4.30 pm to 11.30 pm (Tuesday to Saturday)

View on maps.

Header image - Top of the Mark, Source: Instagram 

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