Hotel rooftop bars and lounges continue to be on the upswing of the trend cycle. Sometimes, in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, all groups need to do is go upstairs at their own hotel to experience a relaxing local vibe, from sweeping city views and culinary delights to perfectly crafted cocktails (at Hotel Via, Proper San Francisco and Archer Hotel Napa, for instance).

If you do want to venture beyond your hotel to a rooftop bar/restaurant, consider these five popular spots in San Francisco that earn raves from residents. All have private event opportunities that still capture the local vibe.


Located three blocks from Union Square, Jones makes all the “best” lists. This lushly landscaped, second-story spot is surrounded by tall buildings that give it an intimate courtyard feel. It features multiple bars, as well as private and semiprivate event spaces for groups of 50 to more than 1,000.

The Roof at Twenty Five Lusk

This recently opened new-American restaurant, lounge and bar in SoMa features a living wall and pizza oven, along with small bites. Private events for 15–450 guests can be accommodated; private dining rooms (with audiovisual options) can be converted for conference space.

El Techo

This Mission neighborhood stalwart for Latin-American street food and cocktails on a rooftop with expansive city views. It’s situated above its sister restaurant, Lolinda, an Argentinean steakhouse. Buy-outs are possible for 60 guests. Reservations are taken for groups of 20 or more; your group should be prepared to stand in line if it just pops in.

Dirty Habit

Also a perennial top pick, located on the fifth floor of SoMa’s Hotel Zelos, Dirty Habit is known for its huge selection of spirits. Partial and full buyouts are possible; private dining rooms for 150–500 guests are available.

B Restaurant and Bar

This contemporary California restaurant and outdoor terrace atop Moscone North overlooks Yerba Buena Gardens, and offers great city views. Buyouts are possible for up to 400 guests.

Read more about San Francisco Bay Area in Carolyn Koenig’s story, “Bay Area Hotel Mini-Boom: New and Renovated Properties Boost Meetings,” in the upcoming May issue of Smart Meetings magazine.