While justifiably famous for its restaurants, San Francisco is also a great drinking town, with a huge number of bars ranging from comfortably scruffy jukebox joints to chic lounges and clubby watering holes. Though spread fairly evenly over the city, top bars are particularly numerous in the Mission and the area between Hayes Valley and Upper Haight, where they seem to line up one after the other. Some charmingly seedy dark horses are found in the Tenderloin; at the opposite end of the spectrum, young-sophisticate cruising spots populate the Marina, while slick lounges speckle Downtown and South of Market. Of course, the city has many specifically gay and lesbian bars, most plentifully in the Castro and South of Market, with a few scattered in the Mission. According to California law, there’s no smoking allowed in any bar unless its sole employees are the owners; to assuage all concerned parties, a clever handful of San Francisco taverns have constructed enclosed spaces expressly built for puffing.

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