Top 12 Hidden Bars in San Francisco

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Discover the top 12 hidden bars in San Francisco that are sure to delight any adventurous soul seeking unique experiences. From speakeasies to rooftop oases, this guide unveils the best kept secrets of the city’s vibrant nightlife.


San Francisco is a city renowned for its cultural diversity, iconic landmarks, and vibrant nightlife. Beyond the well-trodden paths and popular hotspots lies a realm of hidden gems – secret bars that offer a blend of history, mystery, and mixology. If you’re a discerning traveler or a local seeking new thrills, join us on a journey through the top 12 hidden bars in San Francisco. These establishments are not only elusive but promise an experience like no other. So, grab your sense of adventure and let’s dive into the city’s best kept secrets.

Top 12 Hidden Bars in San Francisco

Bourbon & Branch: A Speakeasy with Timeless Allure

Nestled in the heart of the city, Bourbon & Branch is a modern speakeasy that transports you back to the Prohibition era. With an unmarked entrance, vintage décor, and crafted cocktails, this hidden gem captures the essence of clandestine revelry. Prohibition-themed décor sets the mood as you explore an extensive cocktail menu featuring modern twists on classic concoctions.

The Interval at Long Now: Where Science Meets Spirits

In the heart of Fort Mason lies The Interval at Long Now, a unique amalgamation of a bar and a library. This hidden bar takes you on a journey through time, offering a curated selection of spirits and intellectual conversations. Sip on a carefully crafted cocktail while delving into books and exhibits that explore the concept of time.

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Redwood Room: Art Deco Delights

Tucked within the Clift Hotel, the Redwood Room is a hidden oasis of elegance and sophistication. Step into a world of art deco design, illuminated by the soft glow of the bar’s iconic redwood. Indulge in artisanal cocktails while surrounded by a captivating atmosphere that seamlessly blends history and modernity.

Local Edition: A Tribute to Journalism

Located in the basement of the Hearst Building, Local Edition pays homage to the city’s rich journalistic heritage. This hidden gem is adorned with vintage newspapers and typewriters, creating an ambiance that celebrates the art of storytelling. Savor cocktails inspired by iconic headlines and relish the nostalgia of a bygone era.

Pagan Idol: Tiki Fantasyland

Escape to a tropical paradise at Pagan Idol, a hidden tiki bar that whisks you away to a Polynesian wonderland. With its thatched roofs, bamboo furniture, and exotic libations, this bar promises an immersive experience. Embark on a journey to distant shores as you sip on vibrant and flavorful concoctions.

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The Speakeasy: An Interactive Theatrical Experience

Immerse yourself in the intrigue of the Roaring Twenties at The Speakeasy, a hidden bar that offers an immersive theatrical experience. Step into a world of mystery, drama, and jazz as you navigate through secret passages and interact with characters. Unravel the storyline while sipping on period-inspired cocktails for an unforgettable night.

Wilson & Wilson: A Detective’s Delight

Venture into the depths of Bourbon & Branch and discover Wilson & Wilson, a hidden detective-themed bar within a speakeasy. Embrace your inner sleuth as you enjoy expertly crafted cocktails with names that pay homage to famous detectives. Embark on a journey of deduction as you explore the unique ambiance and creative libations.

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Bix: Vintage Vibes and All That Jazz

For a hidden gem that resonates with the sound of jazz and the elegance of the past, visit Bix. Tucked away in an alley, this bar exudes vintage charm with live jazz performances and classic cocktails. Transport yourself to the golden era of music while savoring exceptional drinks in an intimate setting.

Smuggler’s Cove: Rum Haven by the Bay

Smuggler’s Cove is a treasure trove for rum enthusiasts, offering a hidden oasis dedicated to the art of rum-making. With its nautical décor and vast selection of rums, this bar provides an education in the history and flavors of this beloved spirit. Embark on a rum-tasting journey that spans across the Caribbean and beyond.

PianoFight: Where Creativity Takes the Stage

PianoFight isn’t just a hidden bar; it’s a hub of artistic expression where comedy, theater, and music collide. Explore this multi-level venue and discover hidden bars that offer a variety of libations. Immerse yourself in the local arts scene while enjoying innovative performances and handcrafted cocktails.

The Black Horse London Pub: British Charm in San Francisco

Transport yourself to the UK at The Black Horse London Pub, a hidden bar that captures the essence of a traditional British pub. With its cozy atmosphere, hearty fare, and a wide range of beers, ales, and ciders, this establishment offers a taste of British hospitality in the heart of San Francisco. Raise a pint and experience British pub culture like never before.

Benjamin Cooper: A Culinary Concoction

Nestled above the bustling bar, Benjamin Cooper offers an intimate escape into the world of culinary cocktails. Inspired by the flavors of the kitchen, this hidden gem combines unique ingredients and innovative techniques to craft one-of-a-kind libations. Delight your taste buds with cocktails that are a gastronomic adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes these bars “hidden”?

These bars are hidden due to their discreet entrances, unassuming facades, and exclusive atmospheres. Some require passwords or reservations, adding to the allure of discovery.

Are these hidden bars difficult to find?

While some bars have inconspicuous entrances, they are intentionally designed to be found by those seeking unique experiences. A little detective work often leads to rewarding discoveries.

Can I visit these bars without a reservation?

Many of these hidden bars encourage reservations, especially those with limited seating. It’s advisable to check their websites or contact them in advance to secure your spot.

Are these bars expensive?

The pricing varies from bar to bar, but most hidden bars offer a premium experience with meticulously crafted cocktails and unique atmospheres. Be prepared to indulge a bit more than at regular bars.

Are these bars suitable for large groups?

Hidden bars often prioritize intimate experiences, so it’s recommended to visit with a small group. Some bars may accommodate larger parties, but it’s best to inquire beforehand.

What is the best time to visit these hidden bars?

Weekdays and early evenings are generally less crowded, providing a more relaxed and personalized experience. However, each bar may have its own peak hours – checking their schedules is advisable.


San Francisco’s hidden bars are a testament to the city’s spirit of creativity, innovation, and adventure. From speakeasies that transport you to a bygone era to tiki fantasylands that ignite your wanderlust, these bars offer an escape from the ordinary. Whether you’re a local seeking new haunts or a traveler eager to uncover the city’s secrets, the top 12 hidden bars in San Francisco promise unforgettable moments and unparalleled libations. So, raise your glass and embark on a journey through these hidden gems that make San Francisco’s nightlife truly extraordinary.

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