Photo: Warner Bros/Courtesy of Neal Peters Collection
If popular movies are to be believed, a bachelor party should involve three things: copious amounts of booze, strippers, and several bad decisions. But not every groom wants that cliché situation and the hangover of regret that comes with it. If you're a groom-to-be (or a fiancé) who'd prefer a more civilized bachelor party that goes beyond the usual drinks-and-bar outing, here are a few unique ideas to plan the perfect celebration.
Bond with your bros over a competitive game of bowling at Mission Bowling Club. Yes, there are rented shoes, but otherwise this hip hangout is nothing like the bowling alleys of the olden days. Instead of stale chips and watered-down beer, this upscale alley serves craft beer and seasonally-influenced food, and the vibe is decidedly modern (and man-cave inspired) with leather sofas and automatic scoring. Or, go for a rousing game of 14-hole miniature golf at Urban Putt, located in a renovated Victorian. It doesn't get a whole lot more San Francisco than microbrews and hipster putt-putt in the Mission.
Have a Drink
If you actually want to spend time with your best guys, a bar isn't always the ideal option; they're loud, crowded, and not conducive to quality time. That doesn't mean you can't take the guys out for a few drinks, but there are some great places to do that. Make tracks to the Financial District and go old school at Occidental Cigar Club, where you can smoke a stogie while sipping on a single-malt whiskey, a craft beer, or a wine fit for any connoisseur— all in a classy environment where you can actually hear each other talk. If your groomsmen are hopheads, schedule a day out on a self-guided or chauffeured brewery tour. Vantigo is a tour company that visits three local breweries in a tricked-out vintage WV bus. They also offer wine tours of Napa and Sonoma.
Get a Little— But Not Too‐ Scandalous
For a night that's a bit more risqué without actually turning into any kind of major debauchery, book a tour at the San Francisco Armory, a historic building that's now the headquarters of Cybernet Entertainment, LLC, an adult entertainment production company. 90-minute tours explore a labyrinth of elaborate sets that start at dungeons and just get more interesting from there.
Take a Bay Cruise
Bachelor Party Bay Cruises are a great way to showcase the beauty of your city without venturing far away. Charters are bookable by the hour so you can go for a little or as much time as you want, and boats range in capacity from 6 to 36 people. Chill out and take in the views, or bring some "entertainment" of another sort on board. Sail SF specializes in bachelor parties and boasts that "What happens on the boat stays on the boat," so you can ensure no incriminating evidence will make it back to shore.
Test your manly mettle— and make memories to last a lifetime— on an outdoor adventure with your best buds. Pack a tent or rent a campervan for a night in the wild. You don't even have to go far to get away from it all; head south to Half Moon Bay or cross the Golden Gate Bridge for a night in Point Reyes. For those with less outdoor experience, Treks and Tracks offers everything from beginner rock climbing lessons to multi-day wilderness survival classes.
Take a Class
Spend time with friends and learn a new skill; it's easy to find classes ranging in just about any area of interest. For something totally unique, try a falconry lesson, in which you'll learn how to call and hold a massive hawk. Or, for a more practical skill, Avedano's offers hands-on classes in butchery and sausage-making. Bonus: once you've learned how to make some tasty meat treats, you can have a bachelor barbecue using your new skills.