Where To Eat And Drink With Your Coworkers Because Team Bonding Has Taken Over Your Life
In San Francisco, your work team is like your family. Here’s where to get drinks with them after work.
You don’t just have a bunch of coworkers at most companies in San Francisco - you have a team. Together, you’re all bound by some sweet name, like the Boomerangs or the Bend-and-Snap Peas. And when you’re working to sell a new way to swipe credit cards with recycled fruit leather, or growing a company that created an app that alerts you whenever you’ve left your Chapstick in your other jeans, your spare time is spent hanging out with each other. You get together for birthdays, going-away parties, and random Wednesday nights when your manager’s volleyball league gets canceled and they want to blow corporate card budget to facilitate team bonding.
That’s why we have this guide. It’s the 18 bars and restaurants to go with your team - when you’re not all attending quarterly meetings or participating in your fifth escape room this year. Some of these places have food, and others don’t, but they’re all perfect for drinking with ten or so of your favorite coworkers and avoiding talk of bonuses, full-stack solutions, and career development for a while.
One hard thing about a big team is getting to know everyone quickly. But if you go bowling at Fifth Arrow in Union Square, you’ll change seats whenever it’s someone’s turn to bowl and get to talk with them more than you would in an all-hands meeting. You’ll also drink cocktails and eat their legitimately good pizza and fried chicken. Just make sure to reserve lanes ahead of time - there are only three of them.
Red's Java House
Whenever the sun breaks through the clouds, everyone on your floor starts staring out the window like they’ve never seen the sky before. Before they “get sick” on Friday and show up on Monday with a windsurfing tan, call work early one day and take everyone to Red’s Java House. This old-school shack on the Embarcadero serves cheap beers and classic burgers on sourdough rolls, but the best thing about this place is their back patio overlooking the water and the Bay Bridge. The one downside - they close at 6pm, so if your manager’s manager’s manager walks in and wrecks your quiet exit plans, head to Gott’s Roadside instead.
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Uno Dos Tacos
Going to Uno Dos Tacos is a team effort, like selling SaaS to the entire domestic market. This place gets crowded after work, but the patio is one of the biggest in the Financial District. Send a few people early to scout tables, and buy carne asada tacos and pitchers of palomas or margaritas for everyone - but keep the receipt to get reimbursed later.
Fort Point Ferry Building
A casual “what’re y’all doing tonight?” Slack thread revealed that everyone’s plan was to go home and stare at their open fridges for a while before ordering takeout. Make the last-second call to round everyone up and go to the Fort Point Ferry Building taproom. They have different craft beers made by Fort Point, including their smaller brews from Black Sands Brewery, plus giant pretzels, hot dogs, and long, standing tables to enjoy them at. The only thing you need to bring is your branded puffy vest if it’s chilly out.
High-level strategies can only be discussed in the office for so long before everyone’s eyes start to glaze over and they want to bail. But one good way to prolong the inevitable is to carry the conversation over to Schroeder’s in the Financial District. This place is a huge German-style hall with large beers and a solid menu of things like potato pancakes and schnitzel for everyone to split while talking through the finer points of how the team plans to exceed all benchmarks this quarter.
Everdene is permanently closed
Building security figured out that you’ve been propping the roof access door open with a La Croix can, so now if you want to enjoy the fresh air at high altitude, it’s going to have to be somewhere else. Shrug off the shame of getting caught by going to Everdene in the Virgin Hotel. This place is bigger than most rooftop bars in the city, so your whole team can fit. Plus, it’s got great city views and is in SoMa, so you won’t have to go far to get here.
Studies and a lot of first-person research have shown that there’s nothing like a good dive bar to get people talking to each other, and Louie’s Bar is one of our favorites for after work. This place has a large tap list, good food for everyone to share like arancini made from grits, and a bunch of tables. When you get there, it’s a countdown before your manager starts floating between ends of the table and brings up how young everyone is compared to them - when that happens, you can just fake like you’re watching whatever’s on one of the TVs.
21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant
Yes, you can buy a six-pack of 21st Amendment beer at almost every corner store, so you could grab a few cases and have an office Happy Hour. But everyone spends enough time in the office already, so go to their restaurant over by the ballpark instead. You can still talk about the back-end functionality of the new OS, but you can do it surrounded by good food like tacos and cubanos.
If you work in Salesforce East, one way to make sure everyone makes it to Happy Hour is to go to the lobby for cocktails at Trailblazer Tavern. Aside from making good tiki drinks, this place has small plates like lumpia and spam musubi to draw everyone away from their standing desks.
You’ve probably been to so many Happy Hours at dive bars and breweries that you could be certified as an IPA expert. Change things up and go to Verjus in Jackson Square. This wine bar always has a good rotating by-the-glass list. But instead of doing that, get a few bottles, do a vertical tasting, and learn something as a team for once that doesn’t involve new badging policies or neighborhood seating rules.
It’s not exactly hanging out poolside, but this bar has a bunch of cabana chairs in their converted warehouse, which, after staring at your sales cadence all day, is close enough. Their tiki drinks are good and strong, too. By the end of the night, at least one of your coworkers will probably bust out a couple of dance moves during a conversation to prove they have “skills.”
Southern Pacific Brewing
If San Francisco were the Serengeti, Southern Pacific would be a giant watering hole. It seems like everyone in the city shows up here to hang out in packs. But instead of telling groups apart by their plumage or neck length, here, it’s done by branded backpacks and funny birthday party hats. After you get over the fact that this place reminds you of the lunchroom scene from Mean Girls, though, get a few pitchers and try to work “fetch” into the conversation as soon as possible.
If you cleared all the boxes out of an old warehouse and replaced them with big, long tables, a massive bar, and a kitchen that makes Southern food, you’d have Little Skillet in SoMa. This place is huge, and getting a big spot for all your coworkers is never a problem. They make some of the best fried chicken in the city, and also have counter service so you can avoid having to split the check or Venmo someone later.
The reasons why you’ve become a regular at the dive bar next to your house is why you come to Tequila Mockingbird after work - it’s open and close by. This place also makes good cocktails like their namesake drink with grapefruit, and there’s a second-floor loft you can reserve ahead of time if you’re the planner of the group. If there is no planner in your group, though, the bar is long and the space is wide enough for everyone to huddle around and talk about how bad the office snacks have gotten lately.
San Francisco Brewing Co. Beer Garden
Everything in Ghirardelli Square is designed for big groups of people. And while those groups are usually made up of tourists, you can take advantage of this with your team and head to the San Francisco Brewing Company after work. Get everyone a flight of the beers they make in house and vote on which ones are most like your coworkers. If people want to stay later, there’s a putt-putt course across the square, and Palette Tea House nearby makes some of our favorite dim sum in the city.
If you ride a company bus to work, odds are, a lot of your coworkers live around the Marina. Aside from tacos, this place has big pitchers of margaritas that’ll help you forget that your original plan for the evening was to catch a movie with friends you haven’t seen in a few weeks.
photo credit: Declan McKerr
You can go to any of Delarosa’s locations with a big group, but the one in the Marina is more reserved for hanging out with the people who will never judge you for that one night you still call “the pool noodle incident.” The SoMa location, on the other hand, is surrounded by offices, which makes it inherently tamer - but it has the same food, drinks, and long tables, so it’s better to go to with people you’ll have to face on Monday mornings.
As great as the newly-renovated conference rooms named after endangered housecat species may seem to you, no one wants to spend that much time under fluorescent lights. Instead, reserve a patio table at Sens in the Embarcadero Center. It’s a little tough to find, but once you make it to the third floor, you can look at the incredible view of the Ferry Building while you drink a few cocktails.