With its world-renowned food scene, inventive bars and innovative nightlife, San Francisco is full of amazing experiences. Take your group out of traditional corporate settings and into one of the city’s many fun and forward-thinking venues. From wilderness camping in the heart of downtown to catered skeeball tournaments to interactive 1920s theater, these 10 venues will leave attendees talking about your event for years to come.
Anchor Public Taps (1705 Mariposa St.)
As the first public bar dedicated to Anchor Brewing (San Francisco’s original beer), this new venue is worth the trip just to see the wall of collectible vintage beer cans. Groups will love the many fun events, including game nights, trivia and educational beer workshops. They also offer The Potrero Project, a collection of beers brewed and served exclusively here. Delicious grub is not too far away, with some of the city’s best food trucks lining up in the parking lot. Contact Anchor Public Taps for reservations with groups of 20 or more.
Aquarium of the Bay (PIER 39)
Home to more than 20,000 marine animals, Aquarium of the Bay is sure to make a splash with attendees. Conveniently located at the edge of PIER 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf, this versatile 50,000-square-foot space is perfect for cocktail receptions, mixers, product launches, presentations, team-building, meetings and more. They offer several popular event packages. Their Strolling Dinner allows attendees to view sharks and other sea life through 300 feet of crystal clear tunnels. Cocktails by the Bay has stunning views and interactive Tidal Touchpools. Or try their Ottertini Cocktail Party, where guests will enjoy mingling against the backdrop of playful river otters. With close proximity to many hotels, access to public transportation and accommodating event staff who can help plan gatherings of all sizes, Aquarium of the Bay is a convenient and unforgettable venue for your next event.
August Hall SF (420 Mason St.)
Housed in a historic theater and former 1930s speakeasy, August Hall is a beautiful and flexible venue that can accommodate a wide variety of events. Centrally located in Union Square, this multi-purpose space features a sprawling music hall, green room, three full bars and Fifth Arrow, a downstairs restaurant and gaming parlor with three bowling lanes. Whether you’re hosting a large group or an intimate gathering, August Hall has a variety of options for a lively and memorable event.
China Live (644 Broadway)
This trendy new Chinese food emporium has taken the city by storm. The all-in-one marketplace for dining, shopping and drinking provides an in-depth exploration of Chinese gastronomy, ingredients and culture that draws apt comparisons to Mario Batali’s Eataly in New York City. You’ll find two bars, two restaurants, a café and a marketplace as part of the massive Chinatown complex. Throughout its numerous stylish spaces, China Live can host everything from intimate parties of 10 people to large reception-style events for up to 825 with multi-sensory experiences.
Exploratorium (Pier 15)
Immerse your guests in an interactive experience full of sights, sounds and curiosities. The Exploratorium, located at Pier 15 on the Embarcadero, is a newly renovated, LEED-certified museum with more than 650 hands-on exhibits ranging from mechanical contraptions to artworks highlighting the beauty of the world around us. With multiple galleries and the Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery & Terra, where guests will enjoy sweeping views and state-of-the-art facilities, the Exploratorium offers a wide variety of options for making your next event a success.
Hotaling & Co. (1705 Mariposa St.)
With its stunning skyline views and great cocktails, this Potrero Hill venue is sure to dazzle your group. Hotaling & Co. (pronounced ho-de-ling) derives its name from A.P. Hotaling, who ventured west during the Gold Rush and quickly became one of the most reputable distributors in the United States. Today, Hotaling & Co., formerly known as Anchor Distilling Co., is credited with creating the first American craft whiskey (Old Potrero) and gin (Junípero Gin) after Prohibition. Attendees can try these and other spirits during an expert-led tasting tour, which begins with a stroll through the penthouse garden where they can see and smell botanicals used in Hotaling & Co.'s spirits. The penthouse is also ideal for intimate events for up to 75 guests.
Joey the Cat (3252 19th St.)
How about skeeball for your next team building event? Located in the Mission District, Joey the Cat is the ultimate in arcade event spaces. Their full-production Skeeball tournaments and Arcade Olympics will give attendees bragging rights for months to come and include a live announcer, branded trophy and prizes. In addition to skeeball, there’s pinball machines, whack-a-mole, air hockey, shooting games and arcade basketball. They offer Instagram-worthy catering spreads from delicious taco bars to amazing sliders to full food trucks onsite. They can also provide DJs, professional photographers and a unique photo booth that ensures every attendee will have a memorable keepsake (even if they don’t win the trophy).
Outcamp by Campsyte (7 Freelon St.)
For a slice of wilderness without leaving the city, look no further than Outcamp. Located in the heart of SoMa, this outdoors-themed venue is one of San Francisco’s newest and most unique spaces. Designed like a campsite (but with fast Wi-Fi), the urban space features plenty of seating, a firepit, BBQ grill and a fully-stocked camp kitchen offering Blue Bottle Coffee, beer and kombucha on tap. Plus, plenty of healthy snacks. There is also a treehouse and three restored vintage trailers (named George, Betsy and Sandy) perfect for group huddles or breakout meetings. Outcamp can accommodate groups up to 150 people.
The Speakeasy (644 Broadway)
Take your group back to 1923 at The Speakeasy, an immersive theater experience that will have your attendees exclaiming “Hot diggety!” With dozens of characters and numerous interweaving storylines happening simultaneously, guests can choose their own adventures as they explore the many rooms of the Palace Theater. From drinking bootleg hooch in the illicit bar to trying their hand at dice, cards and roulette in the casino to watching a variety of performances at the vaudeville cabaret, there’s many fun ways to experience the Roaring Twenties. The Speakeasy can host private events for groups ranging in size from 25 to 200 people and are happy to come up with creative ideas to meet the needs of your group.
White Chapel (600 Polk St.)
Themed like an 1890s London Underground station, this whimsical gin bar offers an array of photo-ready cocktails. If there’s a world record for most types of gin under one roof, then White Chapel has got to be a contender with a menu featuring more than 400 different kinds. They also offer two event space options with incredible décor: The Distillery (20-30 guests) is ideal for casual cocktail receptions with light appetizers, while The Gin Palace (30-40 guests) features its own private bar with a variety of tables and seating options. A Civic Center favorite, White Chapel is also available for full buyouts for larger groups.