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Nightlife in San Francisco and Bay Area

Nightlife in San Francisco includes bars, dance clubs, comedy clubs, live music, late-night dining, theater and after-hours clubs. Hot spots tend to be localized to the SOMA, Mission, Castro, Marina and North Beach districts.

Generally speaking, the Marina district caters to upscale clientele. The Castro dominates the Gay and Lesbian scene, although plenty of clubs are found outside the Castro. The Mission district plays host to bar hoppers, rockers and partiers. SOMA encompasses several scenes from electronica, through hip hop to the leather scene. Strips joints are found in North Beach.


You must be at least 21 years old to drink alcohol in California. Unless a business serves food, you must be 21 even to enter the premises. Alcohol may be served until 2:00 am. Many bars close at 2:00 am. Some dance clubs stay open until dawn.

Smoking is no longer allowed in bars, and is enforced to a limited extent.


Hot spots change as locals migrate from club to club. As one gets too popular, the hippest elements find new digs. A popular favorite is Ruby Skye at 420 Mason Street. You'll find three dance floors at the Sound Factory at 525 Harrison Street.


We enjoy an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista, near Fisherman's Wharf.

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