The Best Dive Bars in SF

The Best Dive Bars in SF

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San Francisco will always support the kind of drinking establishments that smell like stale beer and discount cleaning products.

12 Places
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    By most accounts, the Saloon is the oldest bar still standing in San Francisco. In the 1800s, drinkers here ran the risk of blacking out and waking up Shanghai'ed on a steamer heading West across the Pacific. You can't really argue with that.
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    Mr. Bing's is pretty much one large bar, a dingy bathroom, and some of the finest company this city has to offer. And don't mess with the artwork, either. A "street artist" once stole the famous Wayward Woman painting, only to be tracked down by Mr. Bing.
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    The vinyl on the booths is ripped, the bartenders aren't that friendly unless you're a regular, and there are usually too many TVs on, drawing your attention away from whomever you're with.
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    Although it seems the bar has finally snuffed out their indoor smoking policy, Summer Place still keeps it's surly charm with a cozy fireplace and a bartender who will not hesitate to yell at everyone in the bar if she spots a single mark of graffiti.
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    The Hi-Tide is the sort of place where you go to drink with clientele that will be completely foreign to you. Indecipherable, mealy-mouthed boozebags drink alongside working girls as misdirected tourists wander in from their discount mid-Nob hotels.
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    Walnut Creek gays who want to take their BFF gal pals to a bar in the city for a night of Cosmos? This isn't the place for you. This still-standing gay bar in the TL is a staple. Come for the cheap beer and shots of Jäger.
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    The Mai-Tais, blended and served in plastic cups, are a particular favorite here. Anthony Bourdain got bombed on them. You will too. The well whiskey comes from China. Cash only. In Chinatown. Brace.
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    Oh, Dave's. You keep it real, mighty real, without any of the grimy dive bar affectations. The perfect spot for hitting your bottom on cheap booze, watching a Giants game, or making out at the bar with that cute guy from Chicago staying across the street.
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    The spirit and grunginess of the place is still the same, with a good whiskey and rye selection, a great jukebox, pool, and some booths you probably don't want to touch too much.
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    Service is fast and friendly, and when you've had your fill of drinking, there's a Taco Bell/KFC a few stumbles away so you can REALLY regret the evening.
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    It's a cosy place populated by surfers, old Irish guys, and a sprinkling of the women who love either (or both). Sometimes they have free hot dogs, good luck with those!
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    While SF natives of a certain age still insist on calling this bar "The Reef," it's been Pittsburgh's for long enough that most locals have caught on to the "new" (that is, vintage 90s) name. This bar opens first thing in the morning.
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