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Union Square Nightlife Guide

The best bars, lounges and clubs in downtown San Francisco


Packed with high profile hotels, even higher profile department and boutique stores as well as dining options galore, Union Square is downtown San Francisco's liveliest and, along with Fisherman's Wharf, it's most visited area. All that hustle and bustle can leave you in need of a libation or two, however, and the good news is there is no need to leave the neighborhood. From dive bars to decadent discos, the Union Square area offers a full spectrum of nightlife options for those out and about in downtown San Francisco.

1. Johnny Foley´s

Johnny Foley's Irish House, San Francisco
mk94577/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
It´s always time for a proper pint at this large but classic Irish Pub that features ornate woodwork, a hardwood dance floor, live music or DJs most nights of the week and a boisterous vibe. Foley´s also serves traditional Irish specialties like fish and chips and Shepard´s pie. Check out our complete list of the Best Irish bars in San Francisco for more Celtic fun.
243 O’Farrell Street,(415) 954-0777 www.johnnyfoley.com

2. Harry Denton´s Starlight Room

Located on the 21st floor of the historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel, the Starlight Room is a classy cocktail lounge with awesome views of the San Francisco downtown skyline. The small dance floor heats up Tuesday through Saturday thanks to a live DJ and the special drag show Sunday brunch is a San Francisco institution in and of itself. The menu features cocktails organized by the decade in which they were introduced and the hostesses, who are dressed in sheer black evening gowns, add elegance to the night. Reservations recommended. Check out our exclusive list of Swanky Cocktail Lounges for more upscale nightlife options in San Francisco.
450 Powell Street, 415 395-8595 www.harrydenton.com

3. Ruby Skye

Located just a block west of Union Square, Ruby Skye is a massive dance club that features local and international techno, house and electronica DJs Wednesday through Saturday nights. There is always a cover and usually a line but, with two levels and four dance rooms plus several VIP areas, this is the place to see and be seen in the Union Square area.
420 Mason Street, (415)693-0777 www.rubyskye.com

4. The High Tide

Image Courtesy of Jesse Garcia
Those looking to completely slip away from the tourist hordes and the well-heeled shoppers of Union Square need wander no farther then the High Tide, the area's best dive bar. Here you will find cheap drinks, a couple of pool tables, a gigantic jukebox that is cranked up to the highest volume possible and locals from the Nob Hill and Tenderlion areas - an eclectic bunch that are usually glad to meet those from out of town.
600 Geary St. (415) 771-3145

5. The Redwood Room

Located inside of the historic Clift Hotel, the Redwood Room is a stylish art deco lounge that features oversized couches, rich redwood wall paneling, digital artwork and a blazing fireplace. This iconic bar also tops our list of must-see Classic San Francisco Bars and attracts a well dressed clientele consisting of after work regulars and international business travelers. Latin-Asian fusion cuisine is served until late.
495 Geary St. (415) 929-2372 www.clifthotel.com

6. Swig

Image Courtesy of Jesse Garcia
Sleek, modern and hip, Swig is one of the few Union Square area lounges that attracts the discriminating party set from San Francisco´s more local neighborhoods. This is due in part to the outstanding weekly event line-up, which includes salsa dancing on Mondays, DJs Tuesday through Saturday nights and a blues jam on Sundays.
561 Geary St. (415) 931-7292 www.swigbar.com

7. Tunnel Top

Walking into the bar at street level only to find yourself three stories up over the rushing traffic of Stockton Street below as it enters the tunnel to Chinatown is only one of the pleasures of the Tunnel Top bar. A great happy hour, DJs on weekend nights, and a very local and casual scene will appeal to those who want to get away from the chaos of downtown San Francisco and hide out for a bit.
601 Bush St. (415) 722-6620
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