San Francisco's Best View Bars

Sipping San Francisco Cocktails With A View

Where to Sip Cocktails With A View in San Francisco

San Francisco’s long and storied history of cocktails is connected to the birth of the martini, the introduction of pisco and the American launch of Irish coffee. Some lounges are up high and others put the bay’s sparkling waters or churning Pacific waves at your feet. May we suggest you bring two important items -- a camera and a jacket. We’re quite sure they’ll both come in handy. Enjoy!


Hornblower Cruises & Events
Pier 3 on The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 394-8900

We can certainly understand why people may say there’s one thing even better than a fabulous view of the City by the Bay...that is, a fabulous view of the City by the Bay while actually on the bay. Perhaps the toughest part is choosing between sparkling water views by day on a champagne brunch cruise or twinkling city light views on an evening cruise with dinner and dancing. Either way, cheers to passing right under the Golden Gate Bridge!

Top of the Mark
InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel
999 California St. 
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 392-3434

Take a cable car halfway to the sky on Nob Hill and then go even higher. Ride the elevator straight to the 19th floor, where outstanding 360-degree views have greeted guests since 1939. Open every evening for cocktails and light supper, often with live music and a dance floor, the 100-plus Martini menu is a signature feature. Also open on Sundays for champagne brunch. In Union Square hotels, The Starlight Room sits atop the Sir Francis Drake and The View Lounge has massive windows on the 39th floor of the Marriott Marquis.

Cliff House
1090 Point Lobos Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 386-3330

Without leaving the city, arrive at the very edge of San Francisco where the 19th century Cliff House has a spectacular setting above craggy cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Waves roll in before your eyes as you look to the west where sunsets are special. The bar/lounge serves cocktails with a view and an especially good housemade Bloody Mary.

286 Jefferson St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 776-5015

Since 1916, this has been the spot for a quintessentially San Francisco view from Fisherman’s Wharf, boats bobbing in the bay as others are steered out and back in again to unload the catch of the day. Enjoy old world hospitality and wharf views, where a modern happy hour runs from 3pm to 6pm daily.

2770 Taylor St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 749-9025

From a table on the outdoor deck, guests are treated to an Instagram-worthy view of the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf sign, Pier 39, historic ships, sailboats, Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge and the foothills of Marin. During late night happy hours, the half-price bar bites and big picture windows also make this a great choice for views from an indoor bar in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf.

399 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 284-9922

Panoramic and up-close views of the Bay Bridge and of the Bay beyond are as dramatic as the soaring interiors with floor to ceiling windows and a giant aquarium. All seats are great seats at the horseshoe-shaped fresh shellfish raw bar or outdoors at a table with umbrella on the patio right at the edge of San Francisco Bay. Next door at Epic Roasthouse, the upstairs Quiver Bar has equally fine bay views.

Pier 23 Cafe
Pier 23 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 362-5125

For a casual spot on The Embarcadero right near the Exploratorium and in front of the Cruise Terminal. Head for a bay-facing table on the patio at Pier 23 Café. There’s live music, seafood and happy hours with spectacular waterfront views, the water nearly lapping at your toes.

The Buena Vista Café
2765 Hyde St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 474-5044

A plaque outside this corner establishment tells the story: "America's First Irish Coffee Was Made Here in 1952.” Some 2,000-plus Irish coffees are served daily at this San Francisco institution, where even the name of the place means ‘good view.’ A window seat provides a postcard-worthy view looking out over the bay in the background with the historic cable car turnaround in the foreground.

AT&T Park
24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 972-2000

There’s not a bad seat in the stadium -- views include both the baseball diamond and the bay. Even if your hometown team is playing the Giants, you can cheer for this ballpark which serves some of the best food and drink in the MLB. Start at Public House with its own street and stadium entrances. Try a tropical drink at Orlando’s, a margarita from Cable Car Bar, a Napa chardonnay from California Wine Cart, a pint of Guinness from Murph’s Clubhouse Pub. Feel free to take a drink to your seat.

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