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San Francisco: nightlife


The life and assassination of the first openly gay politician in the US, Harvey Milk, have inspired a city, a book and an Oscar-winning film helmed by Sean Penn. Harvey’s opened in 1996, 10 years after Elephant Walk, the original bar and a Milk favorite, was destroyed in a fire. Today, Harvey’s is a staple of the gay community in the Castro district. Known for friendly service and fair prices, the bar/restaurant serves a variety of meals, ranging from omelets to steak, depending on when you get there. Happy Hour features $3 draft beer from 3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. Cocktail enthusiasts have the pick of a handful of specialties, including white Sangria (a mixture of pinot grigio, fruits and triple sec) or a Mai Tai elixir named after Milk himself.

Open: Monday to Friday, 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m.

Address: 500 Castro Street, San Francisco, CA 94114


The Buena Vista San Francisco

Located in scenic Fisherman’s Wharf, the Buena Vista is accessible by cable car and the Golden Gate Bridge. This pub is famous for its Irish coffee, painstakingly reproduced in the 1950s following a visit to the country that inspired it. After the whiskey was mixed to perfection, the team reached out to the mayor, a distinguished dairy owner. It was his assistance that allowed them to discover just how to get the cream to float atop the whiskey.

Open: Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m., Saturday and Sunday 8:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m.

Address: 2765 Hyde Street, San Francisco, CA 94109


John’s Grill

For a quiet evening of dinner and drinks, there’s probably no place more appropriate than John’s Grill. Frequented by stars and politicians, this pub is among the city’s oldest establishments. It’s also conveniently located near Union Square, the Moscone Convention Center and downtown theaters. Critics have hailed it as having a “one of a kind atmosphere,” a “famed downtown chow palace,” and being “the most evocative stomping place in San Francisco.”

Open: Monday to Saturday, 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.; Sunday, 12:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

Address: 63 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94103



Rickhouse has been featured by Food & Wine on a list of the world’s best bars and has earned 4 out of 5 stars from a staggering 600-plus Yelpers. The interior décor in itself is worth a visit, with one reviewer likening it to being inside a whiskey barrel. Indeed, the drinks are also an attraction: Rickhouse serves beer, California wine and cocktails. There’s live music every Saturday night, and it borders the Financial District and Union Square.

Open: Monday and Saturday, 5:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.; Tuesday to Friday, 3:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.

Address: 246 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

Contact: (415) 398-2827(

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