The Best Places For Happy Hour With A View

One of the benefits of living in a small city built on hills is that gorgeous views—of the glittering bay, statuesque bridges, picture-perfect cityscapes—are everywhere. Whether you’re crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, walking down Fillmore Street to the Marina, or with the kiddos in Dolores Park, good views are a regular thing. Less regular are the bars where you can enjoy an Old Fashioned or glass of Cab while taking in said view. There are only a handful of bars in SF with great cocktails and great views.


The View

Although the name is somewhat generic, this bar atop the San Francisco Marriott Marquis has an unparalleled view of the city. Located on the 39th floor of the hotel, the View has domed floor to ceiling windows that provide a panoramic look at the Bay. The circular-shaped bar is in the center of the room, so you can even check out the sunset while ordering a Cosmopolitan.


The Slanted Door

Located inside the Ferry Building, the Slanted Door has unrivaled views of the Bay and its bridge. Charles Phan’s iconic Vietnamese eatery has a large bustling bar that accommodates both big and small groups. Order an expertly executed drink (we’re fans of the piña colada that features housemade coconut cream and fresh-pressed pineapple juice) and a round of appetizers to share. The crispy imperial rolls and barbecued pork spareribs are two dishes that put this legendary restaurant on the map.


Bar5 at Coqueta

Bar5 is a small Spanish-inspired bar adjacent to Michael Chiarello’s Embarcadero Street eatery, Coqueta. The bar has views of the Bay and both bridges. The cocktail list is innovative and widely varied. There are Spanish gin and tonics, pitchers of sangria, and libations made with sherry. If you’re hungry, the entire restaurant menu is available at the bar, so you can devour open-faced sandwiches, duck and pork albondigas, and olive-oil poached shrimp.


The Starlight Room

Many of San Francisco’s top mixologists got their start at the storied Starlight Room. The bar and lounge is located on top of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, 21 floors up. There are excellent views of Union Square and the surrounding area—as well as craft cocktails. The Starlight Room is an SF landmark, so expect the crowd to be eclectic and interesting.


Top of the Mark

Another hotel with a top floor bar? The InterContinental Mark Hopkins. The appropriately named Top of the Mark has 360-degree views of SF. Although it’s on the 19th floor, it feels much higher—thanks to the fact that the hotel is located on the very top of Nob Hill. Grab a martini and toast to the setting sun.