San Francisco’s North Beach is an area that is always buzzing with energy, from the numerous visitors coming to see the neighborhood’s historic attractions to those who partake in its vibrant nightlife.
There are two sides to San Francisco’s famous North Beach neighborhood. There’s the side that attracts out-of-towners looking for a wild Saturday night out or some touristy restaurants. And then there’s the other side, the side steeped in a history that includes the Barbary Coast and the hub of the Beat Generation. Both sides are valid reasons to visit the “Little Italy” of the city — as is an excuse to check out some amazing bars, including these seven that won’t disappoint.
Church Key is a cozy bi-level pub that “only” serves beer and wine, but anyone who geeks out on the former won’t find that to be a limitation. It’s easy to find something to love either on the rotating tap list that features 10 innovative (and often locally brewed) beers or the extensive bottle list. Wednesday is a popular night thanks to “Beer with Soul” when DJs spin Motown and other soulful tunes. But no matter which night you go, be prepared to get there on the earlier side, as the bartenders kick everyone out at midnight.
Specs’ is part bar, part museum, and 100 percent part of San Francisco’s fabric and history. Though the death of the owner, Richard “Specs” Simmons, in 2016 left a hole in the hearts of everyone who frequents this legacy business, the dive bar remains a go-to spot for those craving some cheap drinks and conversations with strangers. The bar also features interesting things to look at, including historic mugshots, postcards from around the world, a full-sized mummy case, and even a whale penis bone.
Vesuvio opened in 1948 and immediately became a go-to spot for many of San Francisco’s famous Beat Generation celebrities, including Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Today, the two-story bar sees a mix of regulars and tourists looking to enjoy affordable drinks amid local art and Beat-era memorabilia. The downstairs bar is the best spot for people watching, while the upstairs balcony is perfect for quiet conversations and outdoor views. Patrons can choose either seating arrangement 365 days a year; Vesuvio is open every weekday from 8am to 2am and every weekend starting at 6am.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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