High-End Happy Hours

We all know a hovel where you can get happy-hour Pabst for $2 and sticky stuff from the bar all over your sleeves for free. Every once in a while, however--to impress someone, or un-depress yourself--it's nice to have a few rounds in more elegant environs; enter this list of high-end happy hours, where the un-loaded can get loaded on fancy drinks for dive-bar prices.

Updated: November 20, 2009

Fancy for Cheap


Waterbar

399 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105

Whether you get one of the plush, velvet chairs at the circular oyster bar inside, or get a table on the waterfront patio under the bridge, there are few places in SF as opulent as Waterbar, and Mon-Fri from 3pm to 6pm, top-shelf Moscow Mules are just $5, and said oysters--some of the city's best--are just $1 everyday from 11:30am to 6pm.


Rn74

301 Mission St (Millenium Tower), San Francisco, CA 94105

You'd never know it, but Michael Mina's super swanky SoMa restaurant is a dirt-cheap place to start off a night of SF-style drinking (or get a full rack of nightcaps): Everyday from 10pm to close, shots of Fernet are just $1, while ice-cold Kronenburgs are $3.


Chez Papa Resto

414 Jessie St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Mint Plaza may still be a little gritty, but once you step inside this haute-gothic, onyx-and-amber South-of-France restaurant, you'll feel rich, especially with top-shelf cocktails for $6, wine for $5 and beers for $3, Mon-Fri 5pm-7pm.


Zaré at Fly Trap

606 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Pass under the classic red-and-gold awning, notice Zare's tiny, brick-lined private-entrance alley and take a seat at the perfectly lit bar: Zare at the Fly Trap feels like old money, in the best sense, but those who don't have much money currently can still partake, with $5 wines, $3 beers and tons of delicious bar snacks on the cheap Mon-Sat 4pm-6pm.


Farallon

450 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94102

The famous blown-glass jellyfish chandeliers give this over-the-top under-the-sea-themed restaurant in Union Square a too-precious-to-touch feel, but Mon-Fri 6pm-7pm you can dig into crab cakes, truffle fries and Cabrito Blanco margaritas for $6 a pop--about what they charge for salt at any other time of day.


Heaven's Dog

1148 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Belly up to the beautiful 30-foot petrified cypress bar at Charles Phan's SoMa restaurant/cocktail lounge Mon-Fri 4:30pm-6:30pm and any of their signature drinks--and the cocktail list here is one of the best in the city--will cost you only $5 a pop (they're usually twice that).


Circolo

500 Florida St., San Francisco, CA 94106

A cascading water wall at the entrance, bamboo walls, sexy lighting and earth tones throughout this lofty space will make you feel nouveau-rich as you sip on $2 premium beers and tasty cocktails and down $1 oyster shooters and cheap snacks. Tuesday (only) 5pm-9pm.