Gold Dust Lounge

Gold Dust Lounge

By Babak Haghighi
Photos by Virginia Tieman

“To alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”
-Homer Simpson

Let’s face it: for better or for worse, San Francisco has a drinking problem.

Alcohol. Booze. Hooch. Sauce. Hard Stuff. Heaven in a bottle. Poison. Call it what you will, but the stuff’s everywhere—and apparently, it’s popular.

These San Francisco bars open their doors before the sun rises. Enjoy beer for breakfast and kill last night’s hangover before it even hits you at these early morning watering holes.

Ace's bar

Ace's bar

Ace’s – Tenderloin / Lower Nob Hill
998 Sutter Street (at Hyde)
Open daily: 6 a.m. – 2 a.m.

49er faithful, look elsewhere. Ace’s Bar brings a slice of New York to San Francisco’s Tenderloin. That means this is the go-to spot for New York Giants fans, Yankees fans, and, God forbid, Mets fans to catch the game. The divey, New York-themed neighborhood bar is friendly both to the graveyard shifters as well as those on the nine-to-five grind. Ace’s is open daily from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. and features cheap drinks all day. No happy hour necessary. There’s also a free barbeque on Sundays.

Free. Barbeque.

Drink of choice: Manhattan (why not?)

Clooney's

Clooney's

Clooney’s - Mission
1401 Valencia Street
Open daily: 6 a.m. - 2 a.m.

Writing a novel about a group of rowdy drunkards who hang out at a bar? Go to Clooney’s. Observe the characters. The novel will write itself. This hole-in-the-wall dive bar features a horseshoe bar and an array of interesting regular patrons. Clooney’s is the divest of dives in the Mission. The daytime crowd can get—well, really drunk. Dogs are welcome, but they won’t be served at the bar. This is one of those bars “where everyone knows your name,” probably due to the horseshoe bar which forces everyone to stare at one another. Clooney’s is also home to The Galley, which is essentially a closet that serves some of the best damn pub food in the city.

Drink of choice: Trumer Pils on tap!

Gold Dust Lounge. 165 Jefferson Street, San Francisco

Gold Dust Lounge 165 Jefferson Street, San Francisco

Gold Dust Lounge
165 Jefferson Street
Open daily: 7 a.m. – 2 a.m.

After being evicted last year from its Union Square location after nearly 80 years of operation, the Gold Dust Lounge was reopened on February 1, 2013 at a new location in Fisherman’s Warf. It’s back and bigger than ever. Very big. Very new. Very velvety. It’s luxurious. It’s classy. It’s fancy. Elegant chandeliers hang above the bar, walls and pillars are painted gold, bartenders wear red vests and bowties—in short, it looks like a Las Vegas casino. Gold Dust Lounge is open everyday from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m., and there’s live music every night performed by Johnny Z and the Camaros, who have been playing at Gold Dust Lounge for fifteen years.

Drink of choice: Irish coffee ($3.50 until 8 p.m.)

Vesuvio Cafe

Vesuvio Cafe 255 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco.

Vesuvio Café - North Beach
255 Columbus Ave
Open daily: 6 a.m. – 2 a.m.

The alleged birthplace of the “Beat” movement remains as popular today as it was in its heydey in the 1950s. Despite its historic significance, this is no tourist trap. Vesuvio still retains all the characteristics of a friendly neighborhood bar, and its bohemian aesthetic remains intact. It’s open every day of the year from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. There’s two floors, a bunch of seating, music, art, and the cocktails flow like water. Oh and Jack Kerouac used to hang out here. Like a lot.

Drink of choice: Absinthe

Gino & Carlo Cocktail Lounge

Gino & Carlo Cocktail Lounge

Gino and Carlo Cocktail Lounge & Sports Bar - North Beach
548 Green Street (between Columbus & Grant)
Open daily: 6 a.m. - 2 a.m.

Gino and Carlo is one of the few remaining gems from North Beach’s seemingly ancient history. The Italian family owned bar has been in operation since 1942, and the building has been a bar since even before that. 12 beers on tap. 12 beers in bottles. The beer selection is great, but the cocktail selection is better. The bar gets an older crowd during the week, but the typical young crowd takes over on weekends. Gino and Carlo is also one of the best spots in the city for sports fans. Every Bay Area sports team is celebrated here. Giants, Sharks, Warriors-- Gino and Carlo has got you covered. Come in on “Orange Friday” to watch a Giants game and take advantage of the all-day Blue Moon specials.

Drink of choice: North Beach Campari