Bar Hopping on the Cheap: The Best Pub Crawls in SF

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Experience some San Francisco's best nightlife destinations in one night without breaking your budget - the best pub crawls in the city are all rounded up in this list for your convenience.

Bar hopping in San Francisco can get VERY expensive and those few drinks in each bar can really add up. It doesn’t even matter if you’re at the Mission, North Beach, SoMa or any other neighborhood in SF – expect to cough up a lot more dollars than you intend to spend when on a bar hop in the city.

Thankfully in San Francisco there are a number of pub crawl organizers who leverage the buying power of huge crowds of travelers and locals mixed in to make things way cheaper and way even more fun than it would if you did the bar hop on your own.

Plus, one great thing about pub crawls in SF are the diverse set of people you’ll meet in one night, because this is an international city after all. It’s pretty much the best way to meet new people without being awkward.

Whether you’re in the city for the first time, it’s your birthday or anything in between, this roundup of the best pub crawls in San Francisco will help you cut to the chase. Just be sure to always bring your ID (21+ only) and you’re all set to enjoy the crawl.

Pub Crawl NorthStar Cafe
Photo: Cheapnik

The Best Pub Crawls in San Francisco

1. Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament & Pub Crawl

Organized by hostel volunteers in the city, the Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament & Pub Crawl has long been making a place for travelers from around the world meet with each other and also with locals who frequent this pub crawl. In each event it attracts some 50 to 60 backpackers, making it a great venue to just chill and talk to everyone from all corners of the globe. Plus, the organizers from different hostels around the city make sure that the fee to join and the discounts at each stop are backpacker friendly too.

This pub crawl hosts a Rock-Paper-Scissors in each event that pretty much “requires” you to approach as much people as possible if you really want to win the game, so it lessens big time all the awkwardness of meeting new people.

It happens only every Wednesday though, so expect a pretty chill setting out on the streets. While this is the case, the huge crowd of locals and backpackers it attracts more than make up for the lack of that energetic weekend night vibe.

Neighborhood: North Beach
Price: $5 to enter – this already includes a tournament card and coupon sheet for $3 beers and spirits and $2 shots
For more details or to book this pub crawl: Visit their Facebook Events Page
Best for: When you just want a chill and casual night and want to meet with as many people from across the globe.

2. Pub Crawl San Francisco

Pub Crawl San Francisco takes its revelers to four bars / clubs in the city by super friendly, super cool and amazing party hosts who know the city’s nightlife scene very well, they breathe it. The crawl includes zero entry fees and VIP admission (fast track entry) to all the bars in the lineup, plus drink deals and free vodka and tequila shots at every bar (note that at some bars you’ll get your free shots after a drink deal purchase).

This crawl happens only every Friday and Saturday night, and each pub crawl lasts for 3 hours. The crawl starts at a relaxed venue (think hotel lobbies and sports bars), and energy increases more with each bar the group hops to followed by a great finish at a nighclub.

With this pub crawl the venues are kept secret to preserve exclusivity and quality control – you’ll only know the deets once your tickets are sent out.

Neighborhood: Nob Hill and/or Union Square (lively area in downtown SF)
Price: $19.50
For more details or to book this pub crawl: Visit PubCrawlSanFrancisco.com
Best for: It’s your first time in the city and you literally don’t know where to go to experience SF nightlife. You want to meet a huge bunch of people and you do not really drink that much so a $19.50 night out with free shots are enough for you to enjoy the night.

Pub Crawl People Streets
Photo: Cheapnik

3. CrawlSF

CrawlSF is known for their themed signature pub crawls from Crawloween (Halloween), Sweatercon (Ugly Sweaters during the holidays) and July 4th Fireworks pub crawls to Cinco de Mayo, New Year’s Eve, and St. Patrick’s Day pub crawls. Sometimes, they even have San Francisco Hot Dog Eating Contest – themed pub crawls. With all these themed events you’re very much welcome to dress up a bit to the theme to make it an even more fun pub crawl.

On top of their signature themed crawls, they also have neighborhood-specific crawls including the North Beach Bar Run, Polk Street Pub Crawl, Mission Pub Crawl, Haight Street Bar Crawl and the Union Street Experience.

In each of their pub crawls that usually start as early as 2pm and can last until 8pm, you will be given a ‘pub crawl map’ with all of the bars/nightclubs and drink specials in it so you will need to go to each of the bars on the map on your own or with your new buddies – wristbands will be given to crawlers as well so each can take advantage of the special offers at the bars.

In contrast to the Pub Crawl San Francisco above, CrawlSF pub crawl bars are announced in advance, meaning you have more information on your hands to decide whether you want to go or not.

Neighborhood: Depending on the event, The Marina, Haight Street, The Mission, North Beach, SOMA, The Castro, Russian Hill, Polk Street, Haight Street, Union Street
Price: Anywhere between $12 to $19 depending on which pub crawl you’re attending. They accept refunds up to 7 days before the event.
For more details or to book this pub crawl: Visit CrawlSF.com
Best for: When you’re feeling like dressing up to the theme and starting the crawl as early as 2pm.

4. Rockstar Crawls SF

A.k.a. the ‘pub crawl on steriods,’ Rockstar Crawls SF is the perfect pub crawl to join when you’re feeling extra and you want to paint the town red and splurge a bit on your Friday or Saturday night out.

Rockstar Crawls SF’s niche is in smaller, compact groups being shown around by fun, accommodating hosts – just like a friend showing you around town. They keep the groups small to give a much personalized service to make sure all crawlers enjoy the night and are actually able to get their bottomless drinks.

Crawlers in this escorted nightlife tour hat includes 3 of the best bar/clubs in the city enjoy all inclusive “all you can drink” open bar on drinks at the first two bars for a total of 3 hours (from 9:30PM to 12:30AM) – this means that you don’t have to pay for your drinks as long as the drinks are well drinks, house beer or house wine.

Of course this pub crawl already includes all the cover charges as well as express entrances to the bars and clubs. Given that they keep the groups small for a better service, make sure to book in advance to save a spot especially if you only have a weekend in San Francisco because they tend to fill up quickly.

The open bar and the fact that you’ll be in a smaller group makes this pub crawl a pricey one at $69.99 per person. If you’re someone who likes to drink beer or wine and tend to shell out more that $100 on a given night out anyway (which is VERY possible in a city like San Francisco), this would be a great deal for you.

Neighborhood: Folsom Street (Mission District) and other SF neighborhoods depending on the event
Price: $69.99.
For more details or to book this pub crawl: Visit SanFranciscoCrawl.com or email them at [email protected]
Best for: When you want to go on a fun all-out night-out for a fixed price.

Party Nightclub Nightlife
Photo: Cheapnik

5. North Beach Pub Crawl by San Francisco Urban Adventures

This North Beach Pub Crawl by the travel experts at the famed San Francisco Intrepid Urban Adventures is unique in a way that it combines all the nitty gritty and the fun times one would expect in a pub crawl with a knowledgeable historical tour by an entertaining guide, letting you discover the history and the quirky antics of SF’s colorful North Beach neighborhood and the secrets hidden deep in its many hole-in-the-wall bohemian dive bars and saloons all while sipping on an award-winning Northern California craft brew.

Starting at the historic Vesuvio Cafe, this pub crawl will take you to hip and historic bars along dark and narrow alleys of the adjacent neighborhoods of Chinatown and North Beach (Little Italy), with the guide telling you the stories of each from drunken sailors, bandits, burlesque, the Tong Wars, and even how the Gold Rush shaped the city and vice versa. Who knew a pub crawl can be both fun and educational at the same time?

Costing at $58.00 per person and just running for 2.5 hours you’d think that this crawl would come with a lot of freebies, but no. With only one (yes, 1) drink included in the entire pub tour (additional food & drink at your own expense), it’s safe to say that this is quite a pricey tour. But what makes this pub crawl worth joining and worth including in this list is its one-of-a-kind offering that no other pub crawl offers.

Neighborhood: North Beach
Price: $58.00
For more details or to book this crawl: Visit SanFranciscoUrbanAdventures.com
Best for: If you want to go on a pub crawl, meet new people, and learn about the city’s history all at once.

Anchor Steam Craft Beer San Francisco
Sample SF’s best craft beers at one of the crawls. | Photo: Cheapnik

6. SF on Tap Tours

SF on Tap Tours might be more of a chill afternoon beer drinking event compared to the more vibrant options given above. This is not really a ‘pub’ crawl per se, and instead this is more of a brewery and beer bar crawl, but this activity still fits to the general feel of a pub crawl where you get to drink and meet with a diverse group of people so these make SF on Tap Tours technically a part of this list.

If you want to spend a great afternoon drinking really good craft beer and knowing the local flavors of San Francisco’s top neighborhoods for craft beer, then this tour is for you as you get to taste the unique, the weird and the peculiar craft beer that you can only find in the city.

The brewery tours start 2pm every day where knowledgeable guides who are passionate about the city’s craft beer scene will guide you to three expertly curated neighborhood craft brewing facilities, tap rooms and beer bars in a total of 4 hours where you can enjoy sizable samples of stellar craft beer this side of the states – all the beer you need and the entire mini brewery tour are included in the tour price.

Neighborhood: Mission District, SoMa, Fisherman’s Wharf
Price: $89.00 – use coupon code RGHT NOW to save $10 per person (limited time only)
For more details or to book this crawl: Visit SFonTapTours.com or call them up at (415) 938-4677.
Best for: Craft beer enthusiasts wanting to understand and get a taste of San Francisco’s very own craft beers.

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