Party Scene

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Party Scene


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4 College Freshman

Party Scene: Strict policies on campus. Parties are off campus and in the city.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Party Scene: Nothing major happens in the dorms. If anything, there are sober hang outs.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Party Scene: It's hard to go out when you're underage.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Party Scene: There are almost always parties going on. Not very many on-campus but definitely a lot off campus, you just have to know people and sometimes, parties are just announced on social media.

2 people found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Party Scene: Be 21 or find house parties.

5 people found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

View student contributors

San Francisco has undisputedly incredible nightlife. You can find absolutely anything that interests you, from bars with books to lounges covered in faux-animal skins. No two nights are ever the same in this city, especially with all that the bars, clubs, and culturally superior venues have to offer students. Geary Boulevard and Haight Street are great spots for students looking to stay local, with fairly good prices and every kind of setting imaginable. Most students drink in their dorms or apartments before going out, since the bar scene can take an enormous toll on any wallet. There are also tons of great theaters to check out, or you can have a late bite at any one of the city’s great restaurants or cafés. There are dozens of venues for live music, too, and many of them cater to the under-21 crowd.

Parties at USF, on campus or off, tend to be a bit of a letdown for those expecting a great sense of late-night camaraderie with fellow students. But every once in a while, a good house party comes along, and you can expect to see tons of your classmates there. If you join Greek life, there’s a chance you’ll encounter more USF-friendly nightlife. More students tend to look to the city for their entertainment, especially since it’s so easy to find. Nightlife at the Academy of Sciences is also hugely popular, and it’s a great way to see a museum that’s otherwise too expensive for students to visit regularly. The Mission District as a whole is known for great, cheap dive bars. Some bars around campus, like the Abbey Tavern, have certain dollar beer nights, and Polk Street is famous for cash-only bars with cheap cocktails. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it in San Francisco.

Facts & Statistics

Primary Areas with Nightlife
  • Around Union Square
  • Geary Boulevard
  • The Mission
  • Polk Street
  • SoMa
Other Places to Check Out
  • 540 Club
  • Blondie's Bar & No Grill
  • Buckshot Bar & Gameroom
  • Buena Vista Café
  • Butter
  • Café du Nord
  • Delirium
  • Gold Cane Cocktail Lounge
  • Hobson's Choice
  • Infusion Lounge
  • Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub
  • Kennedy's Irish Pub & Curry House
  • Kezar Pub
  • McTeague's Saloon
  • Milk Bar
  • Pete's Tavern
  • Rockit Room
  • Shannon Arms Irish Pub
  • Slide
  • Smuggler's Cove
  • Tommy's Joynt
  • Toronado
  • Vertigo Bar
  • Vessel
  • The Wreck Room
Local Specialties
Irish Coffee: Rumor has it, the first Irish coffee to be served in America came from the Buena Vista Café on Fisherman's Wharf.
Favorite Drinking Games
  • Beer pong
  • Card games
  • King's Cup
  • Power Hour
  • Quarters
Useful Resources for Nightlife
  • The Guardian
  • SF Weekly
Closing Time
2 a.m.
Cheapest Place to Get a Drink
The Mission District
Organization Parties
Occasionally, clubs and Greek organizations will sponsor off-campus events in restaurants or banquet halls. One of the most popular is the Rose Dance, put on by the Delta Sigma Pi fraternity, which is reminiscent of a prom, only at the college level. There are also seasonal events like Fright Night that occur on campus and are always a good time. Also, each academic department will usually throw parties for majors at the beginning and end of each semester, so check with your respective department for more information. There's always free food!

Club ListingsWhat's This?

DNA Lounge

DNA Lounge has one of the largest dance floors in San Francisco. Things get going well after 11 p.m., so plan to hit this industrial/high-tech hot spot (complete with free Internet kiosks) later in the night. The cover is between $15 and $20, and Saturday boasts special events.

375 11th St.


(415) 626-1409

Ruby Skye

Unlike most venues, Ruby Skye stays open well after the last call at 2 a.m., and as a result, is always extremely crowded on weekends. This club is chic and expensive, and frequent attendees are always dressed well. They feature musical genres like funk, soul, R&B, techno, industrial, and electronica. Thursday includes various concerts, and on Fridays and Saturdays, there's a $20 cover.

420 Mason St.

Union Square, Civic Center/Tenderloin

(415) 693-0777

The Bubble Lounge

The Bubble Lounge boasts a chic, two-tiered space serving champagne, live music, and savory bites. It's pricey, but there's never a cover. Dress to be seen, and chill out on the bottom-floor lounge while DJs spin and beautiful people lounge on red-velvet couches, illuminated by candlelight. Wednesdays: live jazz upstairs; Friday and Saturday: DJs on bottom floor.

714 Montgomery St.

Financial District

(415) 434-4204

City Nights

If you're not yet 21 and want to go out and let loose, City Nights is the place. The music is mostly Top 40, with dirty bathrooms and boys and girls in big groups, with girls in tiny tops and boys in sneakers and low-slung jeans. It's a lot of fun to bring your group of friends and spend the whole night on the dance floor.

715 Harrison St.


(415) 979-8686

Bar ListingsWhat's This?

Elbo Room

Elbo Room has the occasional touring band, but for the most part, it's a great no-cover bar with decent drinks and a cool crowd. There's a photo booth, live soul dance parties, and fast lines for the bathroom. It's more of a dive bar, and cash only, so get ready for a good time.

647 Valencia St.


(415) 552-7788

Trad'r Sam

Trad'r Sam's is a faux-Hawaiian oasis in the middle of the Outer Richmond, with a `60s-inspired drink menu full of strong, cheap tropical drinks served in large bowls. Be prepared to be packed in around the bar itself, as it tends to get crowded early on.

6150 Geary Blvd.

Outer Richmond

(415) 221-0773

The Abbey Tavern

The self-proclaimed No. 1 Irish sports bar and Euro disco in town, Abbey's features live Irish bands, DJs, and multiple large-screen TVs that show both American and international sports. Thursday is dollar beer night, so be prepared to see your entire school right there with you.

4100 Geary Blvd.

San Francisco

(415) 221-7767

The Bitter End

The Bitter End is infamous with USF students, due to the great specials and well-attended trivia contests. There's also an upstairs game room with pool tables, dartboards, and pinball machines. It's a short walk from campus, and Trivia Tuesdays offer cash prizes and awards for best team name and best limerick.

441 Clement St.

Inner Richmond

(415) 221-9538

What to Do if You're Not 21What's This?

City Nights

City Nights is a popular club for the 18-and-up crowd. Complete with five go-go cages, three bars, and multiple dance floors, City Nights is the perfect place to dance the night away to your favorite electronica and house tunes.

715 Harrison St.


(415) 979-8686

330 Ritch

330 Ritch is a popular club that morphs itself into a different scene every night. Hosting a wide range of venues, from '60s mod to punk to upscale R&B, everyone can find their scene here. Thursday is "Popscene": Brit-pop for the 18-and-up crowd.

360 Ritch St.


(415) 541-9574

Student Polls

Rate the off-campus bar and club scene on the following topics    Based on 92 responses

Very poor
  • Convenience to get to
  • Cover charges
  • Distance from campus
  • Drink prices
  • Fun
  • Variety/number of options

What is the party scene like on campus?    Based on 94 responses

  • 1% Tons of raging parties almost any night of the week.
  • 16% Lots of options Wednesday-Saturday.
  • 22% Some decent frat/house parties, weekends only.
  • 37% Good parties are few and far between.
  • 23% Parties? What parties?

What is the biggest party event of the year?    Based on 40 responses

  • 48% Bay to Breakers, Outside Lands, etc
  • 28% Halloween
  • 20% There is little to no party scene at the school.
  • 2% New Year's
  • 2% School club's parties


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