San Francisco bachelor party suggestions?
September 29, 2005 8:15 AM   Subscribe

SanFranciscoFilter: One of my very good friends is getting married soon and wants a bachelor party.

The best man has been given the role of organizing this party, but lives in San Antonio and therefore doesn't know The City. It's been a long time since I've lived in the Bay Area and therefore have absolutely no idea what to suggest in terms of location or 'entertainment.' The groom loves fine wines, good restaurants (as long as they're not vegetarian/vegan) and good beer.

Here's the ground rules as given by the groom: "I'd like to drink, but I don't want to be hung-over (or worse) the next day. In a similar manner, I should probably get some sleep, so I'd probably want to be done by 2-3AM at the latest. Nudity is ok, so long as (a) it's none of us doing the nudity and (b) I don't have to do anything I wouldn't do if Xxxxxx [the bride] were in the room."

Any suggestions for locations and/or 'entertainment' would be appreciated! Anywhere from Marin to Sunnyvale is fair game, but nothing in the East Bay other than Berkeley. Including the groom, there will be 10 of us. Money really isn't an object, but keeping the cost to ~$100 each would be nice.
posted by starscream to Human Relations (14 answers total)
Hot air balloon ride. Most of them finish off with a champagne breakfast afterwards. If you must have nudity, dangle a blow-up doll from a rope.
posted by bondcliff at 8:30 AM on September 29, 2005

You may want to up your dollar amount slightly higher - remember you are in the Bay Area and that going out for dinner and a few drinks alone is going to run you close to $100. If you are going to blow it out (and I highly recommend that for a bachelor party), prepare everyone to bring a couple extra bucks.

That being said, look online at some of the different local boards (or even use Google Earth and start turning on some of the bar options) to see if you can find clusters restaurants and bars within walking distance of each other in areas that fit your demographic profile. Everyone meets up at one location and there isn't the necessity to take cabs, drive elsewhere, etc.
posted by kuperman at 9:16 AM on September 29, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks, kuperman, for the Google Earth suggestion! Since it's a slow day at work today I think I'll check that out now.

I've never attended or organized a bachelor party before, so I guess I kinda just pulled the $100 figure outta thin air. ;)
posted by starscream at 9:23 AM on September 29, 2005

I saw a party of bachelors and a party of bachelorettes, presumably from the same wedding, that had rented out two of the San Francisco cable cars for the night. They put lights and decorations up, rolled in the coolers, turned on the music, and cruised around San Francisco all night, waving to passers-by whilst tipping their brews.

That looked like a lot of fun. I have no idea how much it would cost, but you might call SFMuni to inquire.
posted by symphonik at 9:26 AM on September 29, 2005

Best answer: Starscream, since you have never attended or planned one before, here are the things you must know about having a bachelor party:

1. Watch the Tom Hanks movie of the same name. The bachelor party should not be like that. Unless you know where to score some tranny hookers, although that doesn't really sound like your guys' kind of scene.

2. No matter what you say or do, someone will be hung over. The groom may say he doesn't want to get blotto, but once he's having a good time and you get about 3 pitchers of Spaten Franziskaner in him, he's not going to care about the impending morning doom. (God knows I had no intent to get smashed, but after I'd been to 20 bars the night before, the wedding rehearsal went pretty easy)

3. You are going to drink a lot, therefore you are going to spend a lot.

4. While strip clubs might be fun, they are going to eat into your cash like crazy. On average, drinks at strip clubs cost twice as much as regular booze joints. That was in the Quarter in NOLA, I'd hate to know what the ones in the Bay Area cost.

(maybe a rubber doll isn't such a bad idea after all)

5. It's a lot easier on bartenders if people start buying rounds rather than 6 individual guys trying to order one drink at a time, and open/shut a tab.

6. Do NOT do hard-liquor (vodka, whiskey, tequila, etc) shots. Shots are a BAD IDEA. Expensive wastes of money that are not condusive to fun conversation. That and they end your night hella fast. Remember, you're out for a good time, not for a quick drunk.

7. It will be ka-blamo aaaaaawesome. You will have a good time, but it will be even better for the groom because he gets to be with his best buddies for one last ridiculous outing, and he will (probably) remember (most of) it (fondly) for a very, very long time.
posted by kuperman at 10:00 AM on September 29, 2005

North Beach is the default destination for the traditional bachelor parties in San Francisco. Tons of restaurants, bars and naked women. A one stop shop.

My latest favorite restaurant in North Beach is a place called El Raigon. It's an Argentinean steak house and it is really freakin good. It's a pretty "manly" room - could be a great place to start. Have a drink at any number of the places along Grant as you walk towards Broadway and Columbus and then take your pick of the naked lady emporiums.

For the less traditional - in-door go-karting near the airport. A day of golf followed by dinner. An afternoon at the shooting range. A hike. A day at Great America going on rides. If the groom likes the naked ladies - by all means indulge him but I've seen a trend in my husband's friends of really not being comfortable with that part of the pre-wedding ritual and really having a bad time when that is forced.

On preview - the rolling cable cars aren't actually cable cars - they are busses made to look like cable cars. They are made specifically for just the kinds of events symphonik mentions and are in no way connected to Muni.
posted by Wolfie at 10:01 AM on September 29, 2005

Just FYI, the vast majority of strip clubs in SF don't serve alcohol, because the law is that they're not allowed to do so and have full nudity at the same time.
posted by trevyn at 10:24 AM on September 29, 2005

Definitely head for North Beach - lots of GREAT restaurants and bars and an ongoing party-type scene. I know lots of favorite restaurants there (especially Italian), so let me know if you want specific recommendations. There's also strip clubs on Broadway if your friend wants that kind of action. AFAIK, the topless-only clubs do serve alcohol.

For restaurant reviews, I'd suggest you go to the Chronicle website, and just browse.
posted by jasper411 at 10:44 AM on September 29, 2005

>>...rented out two of the San Francisco cable cars for the night. They put lights and decorations up, rolled in the coolers, turned on the music, and cruised around San Francisco all night, waving to passers-by whilst tipping their brews.

I'm fairly certain the company that rents out motorized cable cars, Cable Car Charters, no longer allows alcoholic beverages on board. Something about drunk people falling out and lawsuits...
posted by birdsong at 11:36 AM on September 29, 2005

PubClub Party Bus in San Francisco. I see these things cruise by all the time, and while they inspire eye-rolling among everyone else, especially in hipper-than-thou neighborhoods like the Mission (preemptive: don't hate; I lived there and loved it for six years, and moved only under duress), I'll admit they're probably pretty fun.

North Beach is a good idea for traditional bachelor party-style festivities. Make sure you don't go to the Stinking Rose, as so many people (including a friend of mine) do for bachelor and -ette bashes. Tourist trap with crappy food. Vesuvios is fun, as is Savoy Tivoli (great outdoor patio). Tosca is an SF institution where you may run into Willie Brown or Sean Penn or other local luminaries. North Beach Bars.

All this said, if it were my bachelor party, I'd hang out in the Mission. Not a good list. A better list. Even better, but still missing a few gems, like the Lone Palm, the Casanova Lounge, the Latin American Club.

SF bars, by neighborhood.

Have fun!
posted by donpedro at 12:13 PM on September 29, 2005

Oh, and finishing by 2-3 a.m. is no problem whatsoever in the land of the 1:30 last call.
posted by donpedro at 12:15 PM on September 29, 2005

Response by poster: Kuperman, thank you very much for the advice! I daresay that you may have singlehandedly saved the party :)

Jasper411, I'd definitely love to hear your recommendations of Italian in the North Beach area!

This was my first post to the green; and as usual the MeFi team completely owns :)
posted by starscream at 2:37 PM on September 29, 2005

My personal favorite Italian places in North Beach are:

1) Steps of Rome. They have 2 restaurants on Columbus, just up from Broadway. One is a *very* lively cafe, where it's loud, TVs are tuned to soccer games, waiters are singing, and I think the food is really good. It's a real party scene, very funny, enjoyable, and crowded. Also cheap! (note that in the past, they didn't take credit cards, though that may have changed) Slightly up the street there's another Steps that is a quieter kind of trattoria.

2) Caffe Macaroni Sciue Sciue. They are slightly further south on Columbus. Very informal, relaxed, very friendly waiter and owners. Quite reasonable, and fun, though not the boisterous scene you find at Steps. Here's a review on them.

3) Ristorante Ideale is charming, seems the most authentic as it reminded me of food in Rome. It's cozy, very comfy and pleasant. But, as the review notes, it can be inconsistent. It's on Grant, just up from Vallejo, as I recall.

4) Rose Pistola is the most expensive, stylish and classy of the lot. Loud, enjoyable, and fancy kinds of Italian - kind of unusual combinations - pumpkin ravioli, octopus salad, etc. Reviewers tend to love it - we've been there a few times, and it's terrific gourmet-type food, but expensive. Further north on Columbus.

Hope this is helpful - Enjoy!
posted by jasper411 at 8:52 AM on September 30, 2005

This summer, I bartended on party busses here in SF and while indeed, they are the source of much eye rolling and whatnot, they are surprisingly fun and practical if you choose not to remain in one section of the City. (Figure 10 guys will require three cabs at the least, etc.) I worked with Bauer Limos and their busses have cd and dvd players, so you can bring your own media and play it for the ride. One group I was with brought 6 dvd's worth of music videos and took turns playing vj for one another.

It also gives members of the group a place to hang out, make calls, take a smoke break (shhhh!), store belongings (cheaper and safer than a coat check) or just chat for a bit. The last bus I was on, the group quit the clubs early and we drove around the City for a couple hours, catching vantage points/nighttime views and the group kicked back with beers, chatting and taking it in.

Obviously, this may not be what you're looking for, but thought I'd toss out the info anyway. Also, Bauer, for certain, and I believe the other limo companies in the city as well, no longer serve alcohol on the open trolley busses due to a fatality and series of injuries in recent years, so if you intend to drink in transit, a bus would be the way to go.

North Beach is the obvious choice if the gang is going to hit the joints, but another area to consider is the Marina/Cow Hollow scene: Fillmore, Steiner, Union and Chestnut Streets are full of great places to eat and drink (full bars and wine bars alike) and people watch. Some of the standouts are AIX, Plumpjack, Nectar, Matrix, Betelnut and Cozmo's. It's also a short cab ride from N. Beach, so you could have your proverbial cake and eat it, too.

Alssuming that the bachelor dinner itself will be on either a Friday or Saturday night, make your reservations ASAP and be as punctual as you can - if not early. I cannot stress that highly enough. It's standard practice here to not seat large parties until they've completely arrived and the further in advance your reservation has been made and confirmed, the more likely your party will be seated at your requested time.

And, finally, have a fantastic time!
posted by Frisbee Girl at 3:57 AM on October 4, 2005

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