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The Best Bars In San Francisco's North Beach, California
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The Best Bars In San Francisco's North Beach, California

Picture of Emily Boleware
Updated: 15 November 2016
North Beach hosts a plethora of lively, unique bars to choose from, whether you want something intimate or rowdy, classy or laid-back. Famous for being the focal point of the Beat Generation in the 1950s, this neighborhood is still brimming with energy and culture. Enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many beloved North Beach restaurants before heading out for a nightcap at one of these bars.
Interior of Columbus Café | © Emily Boleware
Interior of Columbus Café | © Emily Boleware

Columbus Café

North Beach’s Columbus Café has been serving since 1936 and offers almost anything you could want in a bar, including an enormous drinks selection, digital jukebox, pool table, and even a photo booth. The limited space means it can get a little crowded on weekends, but the friendly employees, the lively atmosphere, and especially the two-for-one draft beers during happy hour make it worthwhile.

Grant & Green Saloon  | © Emily Boleware
Grant & Green Saloon | © Emily Boleware

Grant & Green Saloon

Grant & Green Saloon is a must-try dive bar that features a pool table and live music on most nights, from funk to brass to electronic, all of which make this venue an awesome place to grab a beer and let loose. Patrons of all ages flock here to dance, drink and have a good time. It can get a little hot in there with all the dancing and revelry, so bring a jacket you won’t mind carrying.

Monroe

The elegant space and graceful decor at Monroe can make it look as if you’re on a movie set, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that this bar doesn’t get wild. The key is to check their online calendar to see what events are planned for the month. Monroe offers a myriad of events including art shows, rap nights and speed dating, so do your homework before planning a visit. The best nights for happy hour deals are also posted.

Bamboo Hut

For all of your tiki-bar cravings, this is the only bar you need. From flaming punch bowls and vibrant cocktails to elaborate tropical decorations, Bamboo Hut doesn’t disappoint. There may be a small cover charge on weekends and seating is limited, but if you’re looking for a good vibes and a rowdy night, definitely check it out.

Interior lounge of 15 Romolo  | © Emily Boleware
Interior lounge of 15 Romolo | © Emily Boleware

15 Romolo

15 Romolo, bar and restaurant of The Basque Hotel, offers a relaxed, intimate setting and attentive table service. This venue features a drinks list as long as your arm, complete with specialty, handcrafted cocktails, in addition to an array of wines and beers. As an added bonus, you can find a vintage photo booth tucked away into the back corner of the bar, where you and your friends (or your date) can squeeze in and pose for four frames of memories.

Church Key

Church Key is a casual place to try that serves beer and wine only. Here, you can find and admire local artists’ work displayed on the walls. Be careful to look for the neon key outside, as there is no written sign posted with the name of the bar. Make sure to get there early since this venue closes at midnight.

The Boardroom

The Boardroom is almost your classic wings-and-beer neighborhood sports bar, with the added bonus of a Southern-style brunch menu and classic American dinner menu. If you’re craving something deliciously off limits, try the bacon-wrapped tater tots.

Interior bar at Vesuvio Café | © Emily Boleware
Interior bar at Vesuvio Café | © Emily Boleware

Vesuvio Café

A famous haunt of beatnik writer Jack Kerouac, Vesuvio Café is a great place to grab a drink at the bar, or if you’re looking for something more intimate, there is an upstairs balcony with small two-person tables overlooking the street art in Jack Kerouac alley. Walls covered in vintage posters and famous art pieces as well as tables collaged with antique papers and postcards highlight the historical and cultural significance of this venue. Ask about the house drinks for a special bohemian-themed treat!