Great Quirky-Themed Venues In San Francisco

Photo of Natalie Savio
12 December 2016

San Francisco is home to some of the most unusual people, and with them, come some weirdly themed venues to match. From dining in the dark to playing mini-golf indoors, San Francisco has it all. Although typically on the pricey side, these venues offer unique experiences and fond memories.

Tonga Room | © Pargon/Flickr

Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar

Bar, Restaurant, Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Map View
Tonga Room Bar
Tonga Room Bar | © Krista/Flickr
Serving Asian cuisine, the Tonga Room is a tiki-themed bar and restaurant located in the Fairmont Hotel. Built in 1929, there is a pool stretching 75 feet in the center with a live band floating in the middle on a small island. Periodically, a light waterfall will surround the band. There are also tiki-themed drinks and a dance floor at the end of the water. The Tonga Room is a great place to meet up with friends for a drink and some dancing.

Opaque

Tea Room, American
Map View
Want to eat dinner without seeing the food or the person across the table? Then Opaque is the place to go. Opaque provides an experience of a blind person. With excellent service, the waiters, which are blind or visually impaired, walk the customers through the entire experience from escorting them to their table in complete darkness to describing what they should expect when seated. Customers start by ordering their food in a lit room, but if they’re daring, they order the mystery plate to truly not have a sense of what they are eating.

Lovejoy’s Tea Room

Tea Room, Tea , $$$
Map View
Lovejoy’s Attic
Lovejoy’s Attic | Courtesy of Tess Holland
For excellent tea and fanciful décor, look no further than Lovejoy’s Tea Room. Lovejoy offers a royalty tea experience with delicious scones, sandwiches and more. The walls are aligned with teapots, saucers, books, and other various knick-knacks. The wooden furniture is mismatching, and floral tablecloths and sometimes doilies cover the tables.

Urban Putt

Bar, Restaurant, American
Map View
Urban Putt is a both a restaurant and an indoor mini-golf course. On one side, customers can enjoy a meal and some drinks, and on the other, they can play a 14-hole round of mini-golf, the mini-golf holes each have a different quirky theme. Don’t be steered away because of the line, as it moves fairly quickly. After eight at night, Urban Putt becomes solely 21-and-up venue and continues serving drinks.

AsiaSF

Restaurant, Asian, $$$
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Dancer
Dancer at AsiaSF | Dancer at AsiaSF | © Michele Ursino / Flickr
AsiaSF looks like a typical restaurant except for the Chinese red runway bar where the servers perform hourly. The Ladies of AsiaSF are waitresses, performers, and transgender. Once the customers are done eating and the performance is over, they can just go downstairs to continue the fun in AsiaSF’s nightclub.

Forbes Island

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Forbes Island is an underwater dining experience. Customers first travel by boat to a man-made island off Pier 39, featuring views of Alcatraz and the only privately built lighthouse in the United States. The restaurant is located on a ship where customers can enjoy a romantic dinner above or below the water while watching fish swim through any of the 56 portholes below deck.

The Social Study

Bar, Pastries, $$$
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El Mansour
El Mansour | © Amy/Flickr
Originally, this venue was used for a cannabis club, but now The Social Study is a small coffee house by day, serving Four Barrel coffee, and an eccentric bar by night. Old-school books are scattered, and one bright blue leather wall holds fold-out individual seating. At night, The Social Study offers a small selection of wines and beers, projects movies onto the wall, and has a live DJ, on most nights.

El Mansour

Restaurant, Moroccan, $$$
Map View
El Mansour is a Moroccan-themed restaurant in the Outer Richmond, complete with low seating, round mosaic tables, and colorful tapestry. Servers start with bringing the customers a water basin and towel to wash their hands. Then food is served with customers eating with their hands. Meanwhile, the belly dancers perform several numbers and customers are welcomed to join in at the end.

West of Pecos

Bar, Restaurant, American, $$$
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Rainforest Cafe
Rainforest Café | © Douglas Neiner/Flickr
West of Pecos is a restaurant and bar with a Southwestern flair accompanied by animal skins on the wall, a long horn skull, their own cocktail menu, and saloon doors. The restaurant serves Tex-Mex cuisine and is open for brunch on the weekends.

Rainforest Café

Cafe, Restaurant, American, $$$
Map View
Rainforest Café can be spotted in multiple cities. The rainforest-themed restaurant is decorated with salt water aquariums, artificial vegetation, a gift shop, and robotic animals that move with thunderstorm sounds every half hour. The café provides an entertaining atmosphere for children and adults alike.

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