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), the eight on this guide are where to go whenever the urge to eat and drink high up strikes.
The Infatuation SF Guide To Summer 2022
photo credit: Kaiyo Rooftop
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 bundle up in case the wind acts up.
El Techo de Lolinda
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 a decent chicken adobo with rice and beans that’s also big enough to share.
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.
photo credit: Patricia Chang
Good Good Culture Club
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 just feels like you’ve arrived at the best potluck featuring shareable dishes like adobo chicken wings stuffed with garlic sticky rice, 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 shiso liqueur.
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 shrimp kebabs, beer brined pork chops, bratwursts, Dungeness crab rolls, and small plates like pretzel bites. Of course, wine, beer, and frozen cocktails are on hand if you want to drink something cold while you enjoy time al fresco.
photo credit: Hardy Wilson
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.
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.
photo credit: Dirty Habit
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 hang or any outing that calls for cocktails, pretty good fries, and a sleek space.