San Francisco is known for its boundless array of world-class restaurants and bars. But what about those lesser known? When there’s a sense of secrecy involved, we tend to find it all the more appealing. Speakeasies are amongst the most coveted hidden gems in San Francisco, drawing insiders from both near and far to revel in classy cocktails and even better company. Since they’re hard to find, however, we’ve done the work for you. Get a glimpse below of our five favorite speakeasies around the city.
For those who live at The Harrison, you needn’t stray very far to take a seat at one of the most sophisticated speakeasies in the city. Set atop the 49th floor, Uncle Harry’s is a private, resident-only penthouse lounge with its very own speakeasy—not to mention one that offers unobstructed vistas of the twinkling Bay Bridge, marina and AT&T Park in a chic and elegant setting. Designed by Ken Fulk, this impeccably designed sanctuary in the sky is the ideal spot to kick back with a cocktail or host social gatherings and private events, among numerous other refined or informal occasions.
Bourbon & Branch
One of the city’s most intriguing and secretive speakeasies, Bourbon & Branch in the Tenderloin offers a one-of-a-kind experience that will swiftly transport you to the Prohibition era. Reserve a table, buzz the door on Jones Street and whisper the password until someone opens it for you. From the time you enter until you leave, you’ll be captivated by its brick-laden ambiance, candlelit bookcases and expertly-crafted cocktails.
Wilson & Wilson
Did you ever think you could find a speakeasy hidden within a speakeasy? Once you’ve finally broken the code to Bourbon & Branch, make your way to Wilson & Wilson—a covert bar behind a large door in the speakeasy. The perfect spot for an intimate date, Wilson & Wilson has a handful of tables for two and a unique selection of cocktails served in teapots. Make a reservation, enter the same door as Bourbon & Branch and tell them your Wilson–specific password to gain entry.
Once a members-only speakeasy, Marianne’s is now open to the public—at least for those who are able to find it. Located in the back of The Cavalier, Marianne’s was designed by our very own Ken Fulk, so you know it’s just as sophisticated and transportive as Uncle Harry’s. Reserve a table at one of their private booths or communal lounge areas and enjoy incredible cocktails while enveloped by vintage rock n’ roll vibes—an homage to Marianne Faithfull.
The Hogshead Reserve
Another bar within a bar, The Hogshead Reserve is tucked away in The Barrel Room, a wine bar and shop in the Financial District. Make your way past the tiny, cash-only bar and take the staircase that leads downstairs into this lesser-known speakeasy. Once a bank vault, the room offers cozy and cosmopolitan vibes in its firelit, leather-clad setting. Grab a glass of whiskey and feel transported to an entirely different era.