15+ Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco (2023): Organized By Type Of Experience

Did you know that some of the best bars in San Francisco are actually inside hotels? While the price tag for a room might be steep, a visit to the bar is a Good Dimes compromise for receiving an elevated experience at these iconic locations. While many of the bars listed are also restaurants with substantial food menus, in many cases, you are best off enjoying a drink, appetizer, or dessert and going elsewhere for the main course in order to stretch your dimes further. Read on to learn about my recommendations for the 15 best hotel bars in San Francisco.

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - Cityscape
Cityscape at Hilton San Francisco Union Square

Good Dimes tip: bring along any hotel-branded credit cards that you own in order to maximize your points earnings on any purchases. I’ve noted the hotel brands for each hotel bar below where applicable.

My top 4 picks by category:

1. Best Hotel Bar In San Francisco: For The ExperienceTonga Room & Hurricane Bar at The Fairmont San Francisco

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - The Tonga Room

The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar tops the list of best hotel bars in San Francisco, and in fact, I’d go so far as to say it may just be my favorite bar experience of all time. Now, it’s not someplace I’d consider for a regular watering hole, but it is a must-do at least once in San Francisco. Complete with The Island Groove, a live band that plays Gulf & Western tunes from a floating boat on the “lagoon”, surrounded by tiki huts and paired with intermittent “rain showers”, you’ll be instantly transported to an island far away from the cool fog of San Francisco. Don’t worry, the rain showers are contained to the lagoon, so you and your Mai Tai won’t get wet. Live music happens nightly from 7:00 PM onwards and there’s a $15 cover charge for the band if you’re seated in the bar or restaurant.

Good Dimes tip: enjoy the standing room and dance the night away on the “ship deck” in order to avoid the $15 cover charge.

2. Best Hotel Bar In San Francisco: For The ViewCityscape at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square

Photo courtesy: Hilton

If you want to get a bird’s eye view of San Francisco, this is the best bar in the city. There are several other bars with views, but they’re all smaller with a smaller surface area of windows. The large open room with ample seating and wall-to-wall windows providing 360-degree views from the 46th floor is what sets Cityscape apart from the others. Another thing I love about Cityscape is that it is part of Hilton. So, if you have a Hilton credit card, you can use it for any purchases to maximize your return on spending. Additionally, if you have Gold or Diamond status with Hilton and you’re also in need of a place to stay, you’ll get a food and beverage credit which you can choose to put toward your bill at Cityscape.

3. Best Hotel Bar In San Francisco: For The AmbianceThe GC Lounge at the Palace Hotel – Marriott

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - The Garden Court
Photo courtesy: Marriott

The GC Lounge at the Palace Hotel is one experience you don’t want to miss. This opulent, Italian marble column-lined space adorned with Austrian chandeliers beneath a 100+-year-old glass dome is simply exquisite. The amazing thing about the GC Lounge is that you can experience this incredible space for a fraction of the cost of those who choose to dine at the Garden Court Restaurant in the other half of the atrium. If you hold a Marriott credit card, be sure to swipe it here to maximize your points.

4. Best Hotel Bar In San Francisco: For Al FrescoCharmaine’s Rooftop Bar & Lounge at The Proper Hotel

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - Charmaine's
Photo courtesy: The Proper

Unfortunately, there aren’t many dreamy outdoor rooftop hotel bars in San Francisco, but of the few, Charmaine’s is my pick. Designed by Kelly Wearstler, who has styled major hotels and celebrity homes, Charmaine’s is LA-chic with an elevated menu including Trick Dog Cocktails. It is fairly close to downtown so you get a metropolitan feel amidst taller city buildings. If it’s too cold outside, the indoor space is incredibly charming. Charmaine’s is also accessible to everyone, as it doesn’t require you to stay at the hotel in order to enjoy the experience. However, it is located in a rough area, so unless you’re a local and are used to walking around the Tenderloin, I wouldn’t recommend driving and trying to park nearby. Take a rideshare directly to the door and you’ll be golden.

Head over on a Thursday from 7:00-11:00 PM to hear DJ M3’s latest beats.

Additional Hotel Bars in San Francisco, by category:

For The View:

5. The View Lounge at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - The View Lounge
Photo courtesy: Marriott

Another fabulous option for a bird’s eye view of the city, The View’s large sunburst window is certainly inviting. Located on the 39th floor, you’re sure to get some great views if it’s not too foggy.

6. Rise Over Run at The Line SF – Line Hotels

Photo courtesy: Line Hotels

Rise Over Run at The Line SF is newer to the hotel bar scene, having just opened towards the end of 2022. Situated inside an all-glass solarium with an outdoor terrace, there’s no shortage of options for imbibing while soaking in stellar views no matter what the weather brings.

Photo courtesy: Line Hotels

The outside terrace at Rise Over Run is complete with beautiful foliage, firepits, and heaters.

7. Top of the Mark at Mark Hopkins – Intercontinental of IHG

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - Top of the Mark
Photo courtesy: IHG

The Top of the Mark has been a classic San Francisco fixture for the past 80+ years. Despite being located on the 19th floor, the hotel is at the top of Nob Hill, so the views from the Top of the Mark are even more elevated. If it’s not foggy, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, Sutro Tower, the Transamerica building, and Salesforce, of course. Make a reservation for a Saturday evening if you want to enjoy the live band, or try your luck at walking in.

For The Ambiance:

8. Eclipse Kitchen & Bar at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - The Eclipse Kitchen & Bar
Photo courtesy: Hyatt

This ranks as one of the top hotel lobby bars I’ve ever encountered. Located within the atrium and surrounded by levels of rising floors as you gaze toward the ceiling, you’ll be positioned amidst modern art, unique booths, and ambient light fixtures. 

For Al Fresco:

9. Chambers Eat + Drink at The Phoenix Hotel

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - Chambers Eat and Drink
Photo courtesy: Phoenix Hotel

For Palm Springs retro hotel pool vibes, head to Chambers Eat + Drink at The Phoenix Hotel! This hidden gem is completely unexpected in temperate fog city where outdoor pools are few and far between. Don’t worry, the pool is heated should you want to take a dip. Alternatively, hang out in a butterfly chair beneath the palms, bright colors, and neon lights.

10. Terrene at 1 Hotel San Francisco

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - Terrene
Photo courtesy: Terrene

It’s hard to beat an evening beneath the glittering Bay Bridge, and at Terrene’s outdoor patio, you can do just that. A cozy and charming spot located on the Embarcadero, you can imbibe or dine al fresco amidst the palm trees with views spanning from the Bay Bridge to the Ferry Building and beyond. If the weather isn’t ideal to be outside, the indoor space is a great alternative. After you wrap up at Terrene, enjoy a stroll along the Embarcadero.

11. The Seven Square Taproom at The Clancy – Marriott

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - The Seven Square Taproom
Photo courtesy: Marriott

My husband and I used to live around the corner from The Clancy, so when family came to town, they often stayed here. On my parent’s first visit, we discovered the outside courtyard enclosed by the hotel and immediately fell in love. It’s such a zen place in the heart of downtown where you can slow down by the warmth of a fire table beneath the string lights.

The Clancy also has an inviting and secluded front patio space that exudes artsy date night vibes (pictured below).

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - The Clancy
Photo courtesy: Marriott

12. Dirty Habit at Hotel Zelos – Z Hotels

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - The Dirty Habit
Photo courtesy: Dirty Habit

This quaint outdoor courtyard oasis gives a dose of city vibes while boasting a water feature and fire table adjacent to the hustle and bustle of Market Street. The inside space at Dirty Habit is inviting as well.

13. Rooftop At Via – Hotel Via

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - Rooftop at Via
Photo courtesy: Hotel Via

While I love the views and ambiance of the Rooftop At Via, unless you book a room at Hotel Via or plan a private event there, you unfortunately won’t be able to enjoy the space. If you need a place to stay and Hotel Via is within your budget, consider staying here so you can enjoy the rooftop with views of the bay and Oracle Park.

For The History:

14. The Redwood Room at The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - The Redwood Room
Photo courtesy: Sonesta

This iconic San Francisco staple has been in business since the day after Prohibition ended in 1933. The wood-paneled walls of the room are said to have been carved from a single redwood tree! Finished off with an etched glass bar and art-deco vibes, you’ll feel as though you’re stepping back in time when you enter this beautiful space.

For Speakeasy Vibes:

15. Marianne’s at Hotel Zetta – Z Hotels

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - Marianne's
Photo courtesy: The Cavalier

This low-light, sultry salon inspired by Marianne Faithfull is complete with purple walls and zebra banquettes. You’ll find this gem tucked away within The Cavalier restaurant, adjacent to Hotel Zetta. If you can’t get a reservation for Marianne’s but you’re set on the Cavalier, you won’t be disappointed by its other fun, British-themed spaces. Although you won’t get speakeasy vibes, try for a seat at the Blue Bar as your runner-up.

For Cozy Fireplace Vibes:

16. Level III at JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square

15 Best Hotel Bars In San Francisco - Level III

Located on the third floor of the JW Marriott in Union Square, this restaurant and lounge is my husband’s pick for a cozy date night by the fire.

I hope you found some good inspiration from this post and are excited to check out some of the iconic hotel bars in San Francisco. Let the community know in the comments below if you have any other favorite hotel bars in San Francisco.

Want to know how to get cheap meals in San Francisco and 18+ other major cities? Read my post here!

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