There’s nothing worse than ordering your first drink of the night and ending up with a $6 glass of tonic water (this seems to happen most often with well drinks, which, let's face it, we order a lot of). We like our drinks like we like our *insert noun of your choice here*, strong, cheap and tall.
So it got us thinking: what are our go-to spots for a good stiff drink without the price tag? We turned, naturally, to dive bars. Here are our top 10 bars for drinks that’ll get you in party mode right quick. (Just remember to bring cash and pack a raincoat. And by that we mean, a literal raincoat. *Wink wink* In case it rains.)
1. 3300 Club (3300 Mission St)
This Bernal neighborhood standby is quite possibly the friendliest bar in town, and its largely native SF clientele is full of stories to share over a good strong drink.
2. Li Po Cocktail Lounge (916 Grant Ave)
Get your drink fix in Chinatown with this dive bar favorite. Order the Chinese Mai Tai and you may end up on the floor (it includes Bacardi 151 and a mysterious Chinese liquor, among other things).
3. Hobson’s Choice (1601 Haight St)
This Upper Haight favorite is famous for their delicious punch, and it’s the stuff prom night punchbowl spikers can only dream of. Order a punchbowl (to be shared with friends, obviously. Obviously!) and prepare to make a lot of mistakes.
4. Latin American Club (3286 22nd St)
A margarita in a pint glass: what could go wrong? Nothing that you’ll remember afterwards! This is one of the best deals in the city, with an $8 margarita that’s basically all tequila (they say you can get drunk just by watching the bartender mix it for you).
5. The Phone Booth (1398 S Van Ness Ave)
Named for the phone company that used to be across the street, The Phone Booth is one of the most notorious dives in the city, what with their crazy jukebox, indoor smoking, and guarantee that every time you go there, you will leave completely wasted.
6. 500 Club (500 Guerrero St)
Another Mission tradition, 500 Club is a stone’s throw from Dolores Park and serves as overflow for the neighborhood’s many alcohol-seeking individuals. Oh, and word to the wise? It’s not a mirror: it’s the other side of the bar.
7. Gold Cane Cocktail Lounge (1569 Haight St)
Hobson’s Choice too fancy for ya? This bare bones bar somehow manages to have plenty of character (and plenty of booze). Check out their patio for some fresh air and hit the pool table before you’re seeing double.
8. Lucky 13 (2140 Market St)
It’s dark, it’s grimy and it’s got free popcorn. What more could you ask for from a friendly neighborhood dive? Get ready to rub elbows with your fellow SF badasses and take a spot at the long, long bar (get used to it: it’s gonna be a long night).
9. Broken Record (1166 Geneva Ave)
Get out there ... further … further … no, keep going! Getting to this Crocker-Amazon bar may be a feat, but once you’re there, you’ll never want to leave. Broken Record’s got amazing food and a vibe that say 'we’re all here, so we may as well stick together'. Plus, the drinks are cheap, strong and plentiful.
10. Jay’n Bee Club (2736 20th St)
It’s a dive bar … with good pizza. Did your brain just explode? If you’ve never heard of this gem, it’s because the locals don’t want their favorite bar overrun, but we’ll just keep this between us, mmkay?