San Francisco has never been known for its late-night dining. And during the pandemic, when Covid restrictions cut the restaurant industry to the bone, finding witching hour eats anywhere other than a fast-food chain or taco shop was truly rare.
But four months into 2022, with the city finally approaching something resembling a new normal, many may find that the after-hours DoorDash menu just isn’t cutting it anymore. Fortunately, week after week, more neighborhood favorites, corner bars, pizza makers and Asian diners are serving up the club-goers, bar-closers and late shift set with every sort of fare the city has to offer.
“We’re bringing back late night,” says Tony Cooney, co-owner of Pour Guys, a chain of four local taverns—The Tempest, Louie’s, Connecticut Yankee and The Showdown—known for their late-night menus. Cooney says he’s seen a pickup in business the past three weeks.
“We’re bartender’s bars—well, we actually serve the whole restaurant industry, cooks, waitstaff, everyone who ends their shift and wants to eat good food,” says Cooney, who served libations at some of the city’s best watering holes for years before buying into his first bar in 2010.
Cooney and his partners all came from the restaurant industry and knew there weren’t a lot of good options for casual late-night food in the city. “We wanted to offer a place where you can always go late at night and get a fernet and a good burger and seasonal produce,” he said.
How late is “late-night”? The consensus among our contributors is that these days, getting a real meal in SF at just before 10 p.m. smells like victory. A bit later on the weekends? Even better.
So whether you want artisanal ice cream, Korean BBQ, family-recipe pizza or gas station fried chicken, The Standard’s list has a late-night sate to hold you ’til sunrise.
Best Late Night Eats around San Francisco
In the Castro since 1978, Marcello's takes pride in its daily homemade dough and sauce along with whole milk mozzarella cheese. Patrons are like extended family to its family-like staff. UNTIL: Sun 11 p.m., Mon 9 p.m., Tue-Wed 10 p.m., Thu 11 p.m., Fri-Sat 1 a.m.
A classic family-owned 24-hour diner menu and setting in the Castro serving patrons upon comfy bright red barstools and booth benches. UNTIL: Sun-Wed 9:45 p.m., Thu-Sat 24 hours
The Mission and Potrero Hill
Cocktails, wine and beer. Plus: Thai ceviche, fried chicken sandwiches, burgers, shrimp tacos and a mixed mushroom melt. UNTIL: Mon-Sun 11 p.m.
Open seven days a week for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout and delivery. Pizza, cocktails, happy hour & weekend brunch (until 3pm) are offered at Beretta on Valencia. UNTIL: Mon-Thu 11 p.m., Fri-Sat 12 a.m., Sun. 10 p.m.
Sports memorabilia adorn the walls in this under-the-radar neighborhood favorite. Connecticut Yankee offers pub grub and drinks. UNTIL: Sun-Thu 10 p.m., Fri-Sat 12 a.m.
Extensive beer options along with small plates and sandwiches available. UNTIL: Wed-Thu 10 p.m., Fri-Sat 10 p.m.
SF Standard reporters say "the best tasting fried chicken" available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A bar, restaurant and gathering spot in the Mission. Indoor and outdoor reservations are available at Monk's Kettle. UNTIL: Mon-Sun 12 a.m.
With a lengthy list of tasty appetizers and pizza options, along with eight different fully-loaded french fry choices, this pizza joint is a late-night staple. UNTIL: Fri-Sat 4:30 a.m.
Find a menu packed with delicious appetizers, a handful of rolls, nigiri and sashimi along with saki, Japanese beer, wine and champagne all available at Sushio Shio. UNTIL: Mon 10 p.m., Thu 10 p.m., Fri-Sun 10:30 p.m.
"Neck pillow-sized" burritos says it all. Late-night Mexican food aplenty! You won't leave hungry. UNTIL: Sun-Thu 1:30 a.m., Fri-Sat 2:30 a.m.
Cocktails, thin-crust pizza, Italian comfort food made with fresh organic locally sourced ingredients. Open seven days a week for indoor and outdoor dining, takeout and delivery. UNTIL: Mon-Wed 10 p.m., Thu-Sat 11 p.m., Sun. 9 p.m.
Serving dishes of locally grown organic ingredients. Featuring a full bar and an extensive wine list. Reservations available, walk-ins welcome. UNTIL: Mon-Thu 10 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 p.m.
North Beach and Chinatown
A family-run neighborhood treasure of a burger joint open seven days a week 365 days a year for over 50 years! UNTIL: Mon-Sun 1 a.m.
The Showdown offers the ultimate comfort food menu along with cocktails, wine and draft and bottled beer in a low-key setting. UNTIL: Mon-Thu 2 a.m., Fri-Sun 2 a.m.
A "gem" in Chinatown inspired by China’s Guangdong province, Taishan's menu includes an amazing "late-night snacks” dim sum selection. The foil-wrapped chicken is not to be missed! UNTIL: Mon-Sun 3:30 a.m.
A 100-year-old Italian restaurant bar now owned and operated by restaurateur Anna Weinberg. Menu offerings include a raw bar and caviar, antipastas, pastas, entrees and desserts. UNTIL: Tue-Sat 10 p.m
Get 'em with froot loops, get 'em with maple and bacon and get in line to get 'em 24-hours a day. After a long night of drinking nearby, a straight-forward buttermilk might be the safe call. But they'll pack you a pink box full for the morning. Bob's are fresh day and night. The NoPa location on Baker is equally yummy but closes at 9 p.m., sadly.
This is THE classic SF late-night diner featuring plenty of old time goodies: burgers, sandwiches and breakfast anytime! UNTIL: Sun-Wed 3 a.m., Thu-Sat 4 a.m.
A humble neighborhood bar reminiscent of historical Spanish California days. El Lopo features sherry, vermouth and Spanish-inspired snacks made from local ingredients. Serving small bites up until closing. Join in for $5 "Sherry-o-ke" on Tuesdays if you sing for your glass! UNTIL: Mon-Thu 11 p.m., Fri-Sat 12 a.m.
Richmond and Sunset
A Korean fusion restaurant, The Crew offers a variety of dishes including BBQ combos for sharing with 2 to 3 people. UNTIL: Fri-Sat 10:30 p.m.
Genki Crepes offers a delicious variety of ice cream, sandwiches and snack crepes. UNTIL: Sun-Thu 11p.m., Fri-Sat 12 a.m.
This late-night Korean hideaway is housed in a former garage! No reservations needed. Dining is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. UNTIL: Sun-Thu 11 p.m., Fri-Sat. 1:30 a.m.
Explore loads of grilled hot dishes, nigiri and sashimi with Japanese saki, wine or champagne at this top SF Eater endorsed sushi spot. UNTIL: Tue-Thu 10 p.m., Fri-Sat 11 p.m.
Another understated gem, Louie's bar features mouthwatering “Chef's Specials” on Saturdays like beef stroganoff or pork chops and applesauce. UNTIL: Mon-Fri 11 a.m.-12 a.m., Sat 5 p.m.-12 a.m.
Think mac 'n' cheese, tomato soup, grilled cheese and buffalo nuggets. Tempest & Box Kitchen satisfies with its comfort food and libations. UNTIL: Mon-Fri 12 a.m., Sat-Sun 12 a.m.
Theater District and Hayes Valley
Grab artisan drinks and bites before or after theater and evening plans. Featuring small plates to full meals of a cheeseburger with fries or a flatiron steak with baby carrots and a late-night happy hour from 9 p.m. until closing. UNTIL: Tue-Sat 12 a.m.
Neighborhood ice cream shop aimed at building community one scoop at a time. UNTIL: Mon-Sun 11 p.m. Pacific Heights outlet is also open until 11 p.m.
Union Square, Nob Hill and the Tenderloin
Menu options range from cheese corn to fried chicken to grilled marinated beef. The BBQ on a sizzling plate and fried chicken options have late-night appeal. UNTIL: Sat-Wed 2 a.m., Thur-Fri 2 a.m.
Offering diners countless comfort food items like burgers, wings, chili, nachos etc. along with a number of tasty colorful salad options. UNTIL: Mon-Sun 11 p.m.
Don't be late: Trivia Night Thursdays start at 7 p.m. sharp! Guest bartending for charity causes, customized catering and more. Test your luck on the roulette wheel while enjoying tasty wings at Soda Polinski's! UNTIL: Tue-Wed 12 a.m., Thu-Sat 2 a.m.
Krispy Krunchy is an independently owned and operated chain with fan-favorite fried chicken located by The Record Bar. UNTIL: Mon-Thu 12 a.m., Fri-Sat 6 a.m., Sun 11 p.m.
Did we hit/miss your favorite spot? Let us know!
Shelley D. Fargo is a freelance writer for the SF Standard. Click here to contact The Standard’s research team about this story.
Shelley D. Fargo can be reached at [email protected]