Yes, There Really Are Places to Party After 2 A.M. in SF


With the exception of two states, Louisiana and Nevada, there are hours in most U.S. counties where bars have to close and stores can’t sell booze. That’s a real bummer if you’re hammered and still able to stand at the witching hour. Californians are allowed to drink in bars or buy from a store between the hours of 6 a.m. and 2 a.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year.

But San Francisco, the exception to almost all rules, is no exception to this one. 

However, our crafty little burg has a sometimes plentiful, sometimes scarce, but always wide and varied afterhours scene. Warehouses, lofts, mechanic shops, basements, theaters, galleries, and more provide full or limited-choice bars, DJ dancing, smoking areas, and visual effects.

Last week, I went to three “afterhours” on one early Sunday morning (read: after midnight). One spot had three bars going, smoking in all areas, and drunk, off-duty strippers trying their best to leave their work at the office. 

But when and where exactly are these happenings, you ask? Good question. If I told you -- here anyway -- I’d have to kill you. And as I know most of the people putting themselves out there for your enjoyment, they’d have to kill me.

Afterhours rarely happen in the same places more than once or twice, and many weekends they don’t happen at all. Your best bet is to coolly ask one of the security guards at the bar or nightclub that hasn’t quite slaked your thirst. A lot of these guys go straight from a 2 a.m. gig to a 7 a.m. one. You could ask the bar staff but, if they don’t know you, they may be reticent to impart the whereabouts of their own next stop. You can always ask me, but I can be a tad aloof on the matter, I’m told.

If you do manage to find a spot you like, look for someone who looks like they know what’s up and ask them how you can get on the text blast (but don’t mess with a busy bartender or a DJ, duh).

See you at the next afterhours…unless I see you first.

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