The Best San Francisco Rooftops For Eating & Drinking guide image


The Best San Francisco Rooftops For Eating & Drinking

11 spots for when you just want to eat and drink on a roof.

In a city with as many tall buildings as San Francisco, you’d assume it would be easy to find great bars, patios, and dance parties on rooftops. It’s not. While this town is sadly lacking in rooftop spots (especially ones where the views are more than just a second-story apartment window across the street), these are the 11 you can go to whenever the urge to eat and drink high up strikes.



At Cavaña, you can listen to DJs spinning Latin hits while you drink fun, bright cocktails and eat surprisingly good arepas with slow-cooked brisket, aguachiles, and perfectly charred carne asada. The tropical-inspired Latin American bar (at the LUMA Hotel in Mission Bay) is a mix of locals, tourists, and random Giants fans who are gulping down milk-clarified kiwi cocktails, caipirinhas, and other mezcal and tequila-forward drinks. The inside is a plant-filled oasis that can get quite rowdy, especially when the lights dim and Bad Bunny plays on the speakers. The outside also has plenty of heaters, so feel free to dance under the moonlight and drink more cocktails than you should.

On the 13th floor of The Line SF hotel in Union Square, Rise Over Run is an ideal hideout for when the afternoon wind and fog rolls in. The rooftop includes a sophisticated greenhouse-like atrium that’s full of velvet seats, plants, and downtown views. Fire pits, heaters, and blankets are on hand if you do decide to brave the cold and plop down on a cushioned lounge chair on the lush deck outside. The cocktails and wine are reasonably priced, and the snacks, like the spicy tuna tostada and bready corndogs, are passable though not all that interesting—but pay no mind. You’re here to sip and stare too long at the city. 

Kaiyo Rooftop in SoMa is on the 12th floor of the Hyatt Place, and has views of the city to go along with a scene that’s as close to an exclusive, no-jeans-allowed club as you'll get in town. Peruvian-Japanese dishes like empanadas, chicken karaage, and ceviche in a citrus-y leche de tigre are there for when you get hungry, as are excellent cocktails and wine to drink. There are heaters throughout the rooftop—this is San Francisco, after all—but bring layers in case the wind acts up.

El Techo is an ideal San Francisco rooftop bar: there are umbrellas in case it’s too bright, heaters for when it’s too cold, and excellent margaritas and palomas. On top of that, the views from this Mission spot are basically unbeatable. And while drinking, you might get hungry. El Techo has a menu of mostly Latin American snacks and larger plates, like some solid fish tacos, chicharrones, and pollo frito.

​​The breezy rooftop deck at Good Good Culture Club in the Mission has leafy palms and teal-colored booths (it’s on the second floor, so don’t expect a view). And the food feels like you’ve arrived at the best potluck—there are shareable dishes like chicken wings full of chicken egg roll stuffing, bowls of creamy hodo yuba salad, spicy crying tiger shrimp, and other dishes influenced by Laos, Thailand, the Philippines, and more. You’ll want to hang out on this rooftop for hours, especially since there's also lots of natural wine and cocktails brightened up with things like li hing mui preserved lemons and sakura green tea.

The views of the city at the RH gallery restaurant rooftop can’t be beat. The food is comically expensive and equally forgettable, but if you need a drink and a rooftop with a view, like, yesterday, Palm Court is a stellar choice. Order wine from one of two ground floor bars inside this historic neoclassical building, then pass Greco-Roman statues, leather beds, and travertine tables before heading up the elevator to the garden-like roof. If you want to pretend you can actually afford a new home in the city—and feel posh surrounded by couches and fire pits with exorbitant price tags—you will enjoy this place.

Rooftop 25 is a restaurant and bar located above 25 Lusk in Mission Bay. It has lovely downtown views, and a menu filled with wood-fired dishes, including Neapolitan-style pizzas. Also expect things like chicken schnitzel parmesan subs, ahi tuna poke, flat iron steak, and small plates like Bavarian-style pretzel bites. Of course, wine, beer, and cocktails are on hand if you want to drink something cold while you enjoy time al fresco.

There is no view, but Fiorella Sunset is a great pick if you’re in search of a buzzy dinner spot that also has a covered and secluded-feeling rooftop deck. The third (and newest) outpost of Fiorella is always slammed with people eating wood-fired thin-crust pizzas, salads, and pastas, like the rich rigatoni bolognese. This spot is ideal for any occasion that calls for getting dressed up and having a good time under twinkle lights.

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The massive outdoor patio at this Lower Nob Hill cocktail bar has a lot going for it—there are lots of plants, and it feels like a relaxed garden than one of those loud, over-hyped rooftop spots blasting 2003 pop remixes. The only thing missing here is a view (it's surrounded by buildings on three sides). While you’re hanging out, you can also order everything from pizza and smoked-seared salmon to small plates like buffalo wings and crispy-fried adobo pork ribs.

Located on top of the Proper Hotel, the views from this Mid-Market rooftop bar are fantastic. And aside from that—and having great cocktails—it’s a good place to cozy up next to a fire pit at night. The crowd can be a bit corporate (it is a hotel bar, after all), but that doesn’t make the drinks any weaker or less delicious. Heads up, there's a $65 per person minimum for groups of three or more.

If you’re near Union Square and looking for a place to kick back, check out Dirty Habit. It’s located on the fifth floor of Hotel Zelos, and is surrounded by a bunch of tall SoMa buildings, so don’t expect sweeping city views. The spot is still a solid choice for post-work hangs or any outing that calls for cocktails, pretty good fries, and a sleek space.

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photo credit: Kaiyo Rooftop

The Best San Francisco Rooftops For Eating & Drinking guide image