Away from the bright tourist lights of North Beach and Union Square, most San Francisco locals head to the Mission District after hours, where one can find the most entertaining fusions of food and nightlife in the city.

One of the Bay Guardian Newspaper’s “Best of the Bay” winneSFchachachars several years in a row,  Cha Cha Cha on Mission Street is the perfect way to pre-game your evening.  This neighborhood favorite features an extensive tapas selection, including Platanos Maduros (tropical sweet bananas with black beans and sour cream) and Ceviche Del Dia (seafood in a spicy lime vinagrette).  There are so many favorites from the tapas menu that most groups have no problem compromising on ordering one of each dish!  There is plenty to go around.

One thing to be sure of when starting an evening here is ordering a pitcher of Cha Cha Cha’s famous sangria. The bartenders also make a killer Caipirinha, with Cachaca Ypioca (a Brazilian rum), sugar, and fresh lime.  Of course, if the traditional Latin drinks aren’t your thing, the bar has plenty of microbrew beers or sweet cocktails to suit you.