Five Wallet Friendly Happy Hours to Enjoy in San Francisco

I have been the biz traveler who has accidentally spent $80 at the hotel bar because I didn't feel like venturing out. I've also been the traveler who has bought my usual wine at CVS and enjoyed a cable and chill night in to keep well within in my per diem. Either way isn't a horrible way to spend a night; however, with so many options in a city like San Francisco, getting outside the hotel should be encouraged.

All the options can be overwhelming or make it easy to pick the first recommendation off Yelp, but this list should help you find the perfect spot to wind down with a well earned cocktail. All of the bars mentioned are close to "hotel neighborhoods," so odds are you're in walking distance. Cheers!

Tunnel Top:

First of all, this bar location is worthy of any Instagram post. Located on top of the Stockton Tunnel, this two-story bar allows for plenty of people watching opportunities while also not breaking the bank on classic cocktails. Tunnel Top's happy hour offers $2 off all speciality cocktails until 7:30 pm. Both the Watermelon and Cucumber Gimlet are as refreshing as they sound.

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Press Club:

There's no better way to "wine" down with a cozy wine bar offering $3 off per glass until 6pm. Located in SoMA, take a refreshing walk through the Yerba Buena Gardens (located right by the Press Club) either before or after sipping on some of California's finest.


Italian is always a good idea. Tratto has both an amazing food and drink happy hour. In addition, the vibe of the restaurant itself really transports you into a spot of warm colors, vibrant energy, and the feeling like you might actually be in Italy. After feeling bogged down and fogged down by a work day in SF, walking through the red doors of Tratto is an instant pick me up without having to break the bank.


Swig is a modern classic bar that is a neighbor of Tratto. Happy hours that last until 7pm are heavenly; happy hours until 8pm are almost unheard of. Swig's happy hour has a range of wine, beer, and cocktail specials--pleasing whatever your taste buds fancy for the evening. The location, ambiance, and prices will have you feelings pretty swag at Swig.

Buffalo Theory:

California definitely boasts great wine, but also the Golden State has plenty of great brews to try. Buffalo Theory's $1 oysters and chicken wings are a great teaser to dinner--or no judgement if you want to go ahead and have enough for a meal size portion (they are that delicious).

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Taking a seat at any of these locations will ensure the happiest of hour for your time and wallet. Be sure check out other places surrounding these spots and find your own local favorites.

Have you discovered any noteworthy happy hour deals in the Bay Area? Share your SF recommendations with fellow biz travelers in the comments below.

Meet our Upside Guest Blogger!

I'm Chelsea and I am proud member of the biz travel community. In my role as Regional Director of Development, Western Region for the University of Michigan (Go Blue!), I am based out of Ann Arbor and travel to the West Coast, primarily San Francisco 2-3x per month to meet with donors and alumni. The very nature of my work relies on business travel -- you can follow my journeys on Instagram @chelsmichelle7 and Twitter @chelseamichelle.