Heading out to a speakeasy in San Francisco for a cocktail might take you back to a simpler time. Even with Prohibition long gone, many residents love the idea of going to a “secret” bar. While these hidden San Francisco speakeasies may not be super secretive, they are still fun to enjoy.
The history behind each one is unique – they are found in old back rooms, bank vaults, and many other interesting places. Here are five choices when you want to enjoy a San Francisco speakeasy.
Opened in 2013 in the SOMA neighborhood, Marianne’s was originally uber exclusive. You couldn’t get in without being a member and the members mainly consisted of investors and friends of the owner. The key code changed every week, making it nearly impossible to gain access.
As of 2016, this speakeasy has changed and it’s now open to the public. You can gain access to Marianne’s with a $25 deposit and a reservation. To find this speakeasy, you need to find the alleyway next to Hotel Zetta. Then, just head down the alley until you see the pink door on the left.
Inside Marianne’s you will find an elegant bar with candlelight, paintings, fresh flowers and more. It’s not a stuffy place and in fact, it’s pretty cozy. Games of cards are often going on and many older songs are playing here.
A very secretive place, 15 Romolo in North Beach isn’t exactly an easy place to access. You have to veer off of Broadway onto Romolo Place, which is a very steep street. Head all the way up past Basque Hotel and you’ll find a red door with a glowing number 15. This is the place, and it’s a truly low-lit speakeasy that will take you back to times of Prohibition — except now the booze is legal.
An elegant spot with a jukebox, picture booth, and well-balanced cocktails awaits. It may not be easy to get to, but it’s certainly worth the journey.
A tiny, two-seat bar found below Russel’s Room (a private room) and inside Bourbon & Branch in the Tenderloin, Ipswich is a very secret hideaway. It’s not easy to get into, even if you have a reservation. The entryway is actually a trap door found in the floor… don’t expect any frills or anything fancy.
Ipswich was an actual speakeasy during Prohibition, and the decor is pretty much the same. Make your reservation and hope you’ll get in because this one will certainly take you back in time.
Wilson & Wilson
Wilson & Wilson is an intimate place — and you’ll want to have a reservation. It’s a bar-within-a-bar found away from the main room. If you love intrigue, this is the San Francisco speakeasy for you.
Two-top, candlelit tables are found at Wilson & Wilson, along with a pressed tin ceiling and a large drink menu. Cocktails come out in teapots, a tip of the hat to the Prohibition era. Choose from a large list of bourbon and scotch, along with many mixed cocktails.
An eight-seat bar uniquely designed to be one of the top speakeasies in San Francisco, Linden Room isn’t hard to miss. The entrance is found on Linden Street right after you turn onto the alley from Gough in the Van Ness/Civic Center corridor. If you miss this speakeasy, you’ll miss out on some of the best seasonal craft cocktails in the city.
This speakeasy provides a bit of a living room feel with leather chairs, shelves filled with records, backlit liquor and plenty more. The glassware is vintage and the Yves Klein blue walls make this a unique place to go.
San Francisco may have a budding nightlife scene, but some of the best speakeasies may not be on the radar. These five are certainly off the radar, but with the right information and a reservation, you might be able to enjoy a bit of the Prohibition Era right within the city.