Red's Place

Historic Bar
Red's Place Red's Place in San Francisco is the oldest bar in Chinatown, catering to old locals & lots of festive barhoppers. Get the 411 on this SF dive at Party Earth. San Francisco United States 37.7961464132012 -122.406435906887
3.36 5
Red's Place - Historic Bar in San Francisco.
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Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review A bare-bones dive in the heart of Chinatown, Red’s Place is perpetually brimming with intrepid tourists and loquacious locals – some toothless ‘n’ smoking, some dapper ‘n’ swilling – who sway to the beats from a surprisingly... ... read full review

  • Hours:

    Daily 1pm–1am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Red's Place Review

The Scene

Red's Place in San Francisco is the oldest bar in Chinatown, catering to old locals & lots of festive barhoppers. Get the 411 on this SF dive at Party Earth.

A bare-bones dive in the heart of Chinatown, Red’s Place is perpetually brimming with intrepid tourists and loquacious locals – some toothless ‘n’ smoking, some dapper ‘n’ swilling – who sway to the beats from a surprisingly shiny new jukebox atop squeaking vinyl stools.

As regulars lock in for another round of Liar’s Dice, first-timers pick from the roughly three dozen brews on hand, or get more adventurous with some mind-scorching shots of Maotai, a 106-proof Chinese liquor that’d peel the paint off an engine block.

A couple of waiting room chairs, Tsing Tao mirrors, a broken payphone, and a lone poster of a sexy goth Asian gal account for most of the ramshackle décor, while a single gaming console beckons to players with Lady Luck on their side.

Midweek finds an older crowd of Happy Hour seekers hanging out at the tiny bar or selecting tracks from the eclectic jukebox. Though the music’s never pounding, a steady beat of classic rock and Asian anthems sets the tone for the scene, punctuated by a dependable din of back-slapping, guffaws, and the wet thud of bottles hitting the bar.

Fridays bring a flood of shoulder-to-shoulder barhoppers as grungy hipsters and wide-eyed suburbanites alike join the fray.

The oldest bar in Chinatown, Red’s Place has an impressive history of more than sixty years in the beer-slinging business, and offers an authentic slice of SF life without coat checks, coasters, or cheap tricks.

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Tip from Jonah:

If you’re feeling a little flush, buy everybody in the bar a round. The bartender will ring a little metal gong to celebrate your generosity.

  • Crowd

    Crunchy hipsters, dive lovers, adventurous tourists, weekend barhoppers looking for a taste of Chinatown, and lots of middle-aged Chinese men, late 20s to how-can-you-still-be-alive?

  • Entertainment / Music

    A few TVs tuned to sports, though mostly muted and ignored.

    Modern Jukebox stocked with large selection of U.S. and world music.

    Entertainment console featuring various puzzle and strategy games. Free Wi-Fi.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Plenty of free bar snacks in the form of Chinese-themed Chex Mix provided in little wooden bowls scattered throughout the bar. Happy Hour M–F 4–6pm.

  • Prices

    Beer $4–$5, cocktails $6–$8, beer and shot combos $5–$7, special shots $20+.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual: jeans, t-shirts, button-downs, sneakers, blouses, cute skirts.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Thursday and Friday nights for the rowdiest and most crowded scene, though the majority of folks are there to drink and talk rather than party down.

  • Close By

    Lun Ting Cafe (670 Jackson Street) has been serving cheap grub for more than a hundred years, and is a great stop for some authentic eats pre- or post-boozing.

Red's Place User Reviews

Average rating:
Must go!
Gor G. Jun 8, 2013
A real treasure of Chinatown. You'll hear Andy Lau, Gigi Leung, and even--perhaps mostly--the legend known as Teresa Teng on the old jukebox and you'll see older Chinese fellows sipping their drinks and engaged in loud gossip in Mandarin or Cantonese--maybe even Hakka. You can sit there for hours, talking now and then to the bartender or a new friend, peeking out towards the door and watching a familar face enter now and then. You can look down at your glass of bourbon or Scotch--or a proper, old-style, mixed drink--with winsome longing as Teresa Teng's classic "Lotus in the Snow" drifts over the din of the old men arguing about some obscure element of politics in Zhejiang. People are friendly and the drinks in general are strong. If you come with an open mind and sincere interest in Chinese ex-pat culture you'll be impressed. It's not a place for hipsters to look cool but for people from the neighborhood: you have to realize how frail yet robust Chinatown's grasp on its slight strand of SF is and how important institutions like Red's are to people who live here.
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