One year older, one year wiser. You may be long past the days of ponies and magicians, but you don’t have to crawl into a hole on your birthday. We found the best spots for celebrating with a bang.
Two things that amp up birthdays and dim sum: a hungry crowd and lots of noise. Share from communal plates, grab traditional dumplings from passing carts, and let the chopsticks fly.
Yank Sing Dim Sum, 101 Spear Street, at Mission Street (415-781-1111 or yanksing.com).
You don’t often leave a birthday celebration looking better than when you arrived, but Drybar makes it happen (with champagne, no less). Let an in-house party planner handle the details; your only job is to be pampered.
With more than 100 tequilas on the menu, things are bound to get messy. The private room is available for food fights, er, civilized parties of up to 75.
Tacolicious, 741 Valencia Street, at 18th Street (415-626-1344 or tacolicioussf.com).
Relive memories of backyard parties on a much larger scale. With 8,000 square feet of trampolines, does it really matter how old you are? Take your own refreshments or enjoy Blue Bottle Coffee served on-site.
House of Air, 926 Mason Street, on Crissy Field (415-345-9675 or houseofair.com).
Keep it casual at this charming dive where bar food is an art form. You never know when a game of beer pong might break out. (Winner buys the group a round of truffle fries.)
Soothe birthday blues with American comfort food, like pot roast and cream pies made with local, organic ingredients. Each of the four Chow locations has a neighborhood flair, but the one by the park does banquets for up to 80 guests.
Chow at the Park, 1240 9th Avenue, at Lincoln Way (415-665-9912 or chowfoodbar.com).
Despite the cliche, you’ve always wanted to rent out a bar for your birthday. Do it at Big, where the bartender, a master in the medium of alcohol, creates custom drinks for up to 30 guests.
Indulgence should be an all-day affair on your birthday. Batter’s got you covered, from scones, muffins, and weekend brunch to cupcakes, brownies, and ice cream. Permission to gorge, granted.
Batter Bakery, 2127 Polk Street, between Broadway and Vallejo Streets (415-674-1068 or batterbakery.com).
The true test of friendship is whether or not your pals let you win on your birthday. Bring ’em by these lanes, where the eats (from the chef who helms up Mission Chinese) will distract them from your gutter balls.
Mission Bowling Club, 3176 17th Street, between Shotwell Street and South Van Ness Avenue (415-863-2695 or missionbowlingclub.com).
Got a milestone to celebrate? Do it right at the industrial-chic private space above Churchill. Its dance space, audio capabilities, shuffleboard, and full bar and kitchen take your party to the next level.
A southwestern road trip not in the cards this year? West of Pecos is the perfect alternative, with a semiprivate dining area that seats up to 50 and offers Santa Fe cuisine classics, Hill Country BBQ, cold draft beers, and killer margaritas.
West of Pecos, 550 Valencia Street, at 16th Street (415-252-7000 or westofpecos.com).
Call us romantics, but we love birthday picnics, and the dreamiest place to spread your blanket is by the Dutch Windmills. Built in 1902 and surrounded by tulip gardens, they’re très continental, darlings.