San Francisco: Must-Visit Bars and Clubs

Arguably the place to go for the city's best martinis is the retro BIX.

The Bubble Lounge champagne bar offers live jazz and over 40 varieties of bubbly.

A film site for Basic Instinct, Tosca Café is low key, with an opera-playing jukebox and cappuccino-dispensing samovars. (Bartenders add the brandy.)

Try the Golden Gate cocktail at the famed 19th-floor Top of the Mark bar. $5-10 U.S. cover charge.

RoHan Lounge specializes in pan-Asian tapas and Korean soju cocktails.

At Polly Esther's, people of all ages disco on the first floor and dance to '80s hits upstairs. $10-12 U.S. cover charge.

Sno-Drift serves alcoholic snow cones. DJs spin every night. On weekends, tables are pushed aside for dancing. $15-20 U.S. cover charge.

Harry Denton's Starlight Room, at the top of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, frequently offers live music ranging from orchestra to rock. $5-10 U.S. cover charge.

Though Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon has been in business since 1974, the musical revue has kept up with the times. Today performers pick on modern celebrities like Oprah. $25-65 U.S. for tickets.

Aerial acrobats, contortionists, and other entertainers perform late-night shows at the upscale Ruby Skye. $10-20 U.S. cover charge.

Metreon—a futuristic entertainment center built by Japan's Sony company—features America's only PlayStation store.

Experts consulted:

Pam Skjolsvik, a guide with Three Babes and a Bus.

Barnaby Conrad III, author of The Martini: An Illustrated History of an American Classic.

<< BackLocals' Favorite Places >>