When it comes to places to lounge in warm weather, San Francisco has never been chock full of them for obvious reasons. But for those rare days when the temperature climbs above 75 and your AC-free apartment is feeling too oppressive, we have some recommendations for chilling with a frosty beverage al fresco.
Opened in 2018, the rooftop at 25 Lusk can be pretty blustery cold when it's not warm out. But in nice weather it's a great place for basking and imbibing just a hop and a skip from the Financial District in SoMa. With the restaurant downstairs and its own dedicated kitchen upstairs, the roof at 25 Lusk also offers the possibility of getting satiated, food-wise, after getting your drink on.
25 Lusk Street, off Townsend
The often-crowded patio at Anina affords a certain segment of San Franciscans the opportunity to both relax with large-format cocktails (these punch bowls will get two people tipsy, but four not so much), and get cozy with strangers because of the communal-table aspect. Across from Patricia's Green, this is also one of a growing handful of spots in the neighborhood that offer a full bar.
482 Hayes Street between Octavia Street and Gough Street
A stone's throw from Anina, along Patricia's Green in Hayes Valley, sits this stalwart beer garden from the folks behind nearby Suppenkuche. The place boasts a stellar burger (Wednesdays only), as well as a menu of sausages and pretzels to go with steins of standard-issue German beers — as well as really big one-liter mugs.
424 Octavia (between Fell and Linden)
This 46-year-old spot in the Castro offers the most patio seating of anywhere in the neighborhood, along with a full bar and brunch, lunch, and dinner menus daily. Patrons can regularly be seen sipping Champagne at the sidewalk tables or behind the patio's wind-guards.
2298 Market Street at Noe
This place has a line outside on McAllister even on the most frigid, foggy evenings, so you might not even want to bother on days when it's actually warm out. But given how rare rooftops like this are in town, we can't neglect to mention it, if you want to brave the crowds — and they make a decent cocktail, too.
45 McAllister at the Proper Hotel
Teeth, fka Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
The pleasant patio at this bar in the heart of the Mission is a welcome oasis from the usual madness in the 'hood. A back bar serving beer and wine assists with the flow at the main bar up front, and seating is tiered with both tables and bench seating.
2323 Mission Street between 19th and 20th
The grand, homey patio at El Rio is home to one of the best LGBT monthly dance parties in town, Daytime Realness, as well as Salsa Sundays several times a month and a variety of other parties. Their Margaritas and Palomas are good and strong, they sell $2 Tecates, and the bartenders are all friendly and cool. Also, the patio's big enough that sometimes there's a food vendor back there.
3158 Mission Street at Precita
El Techo de Lolinda
This Mission rooftop has been popular for over a decade in a couple different incarnations, the latest as a spot for after-work margaritas and quesadillas with some very welcome glass wind guards along the railings. The dinner menu includes plenty of drinking snacks, as well as a focus on grilled marinated meats, and pork chicharrones by the pound. Pro tip: They take reservations for brunch.
2518 Mission Street (at 21st)
Everdene at Virgin Hotels San Francisco
The swankiest new rooftop bar in SoMa is at the new Virgin Hotel, and it's named for a Thomas Hardy heroine. Cocktails here include large-format options for groups like the Midsummer Revelry (Macchu pisco, Tempus Fugit creme de noyaux, and Ballard Lane pinot noir). But be prepared to stand in line most days to get to the elevator, no matter the weather or the hour.
250 4th Street
Way out in Golden Gate Park, just as it hits the ocean, sits the combined Beach Chalet and Park Chalet — the latter is the rear portion of the building, with a big lawn area with ample Adirondack-chair seating. The place makes its own beer, which is decent, but there's also a full bar from which to get an icy Moscow mule or bone-dry martini.
1000 Great Highway
The marvelous and humble Ramp now sits practically in the shadow of the Chase Center. And while the charms of this place have never included the food, the drinks will do the trick and the bayfront view can't be beat — at least not for this price point.
855 Terry A. Francois Blvd.
Virgil's Sea Room
Nestled in between El Rio and Roccapulco at the edge of the Mission, Virgil's is an easygoing neighborhood bar with a big back deck that would overlook El Rio's patio were it not for the high fence. It's a great place for a well-mixed cocktail, and the deck often plays hosts to events as well.
3152 Mission Street
This grand old daddy of a biker bar is now home to more bicycles than motorcycles. But the place has retained its rugged atmosphere and sensibility through a couple of tech booms, and shows no signs of fading in popularity. The expansive beer garden, separated from Valencia Street by just a tall fence and still serving good burgers, remains a party spot day and night on the weekends, just don't let the sometimes brusque bar staff scare you.
199 Valencia Street