At the border of Bernal and Mission, this party-town dive caters to all walks of life. Most are regulars here, but newbies are welcome, too. This is the San Francisco as Armistead Maupin envisioned it, a little bit burlesque, gangster, punk, and square all at once. It’s people watching at its best, but in our day and age, if a live band, salsa, free oyster nights, or a legendary topless unicycler doesn’t hold your attention, there’s also free Wi-Fi on the patio.
El Rio, 3158 Mission Street (between Powers and Precita avenues); 415-282-3325.
Photographed by Anna-Alexia Basile