Nightlife: Barbarossa Lounge

Welcome to the first edition of CondoWeekly’s guide to nightlife! Our mission is to show you an insider’s perspective of local nightlife, so that you can get the best experience you possibly can. 

In this edition, we’re reviewing one of our all-time favorite joints: Barbarossa.


The Breakdown

THE CROWD: mid-twenties to early forties

MUSIC: Top forties and house 

DRESS: classy

AMBIANCE: upscale 


-People watching

-Dancing (only on Saturday nights!)

-Birthdays and celebrations with a crew of 4-10 people

-Having a classy, low-key night out with friends

-Meeting new people


-Getting ratchet/wild, table dancing

-Casual dress

-People in their early twenties 

-People who dislike bougie FiDi people


Arrive early (before 10 PM) and get seated at a table with your crew. Politely ask one of the hostesses if the table is reserved. In general, if your crew is friendly and well-behaved, their response will be that you’re free to keep that table unless someone purchases the table with a bottle later on. 

You just secured a free table for the night! This tactic tends to work better on Friday nights than Saturday nights, though.


The tables toward the front of Barbarossa will provide much better opportunities for people watching. However, because of this, those tables tend to be in-demand and you’re more likely to get booted off them if someone buys the table. To hedge your bets, set your crew up at one of the tables on the other side of the bar, toward the back.


Barbarossa is nestled in an interesting part of town: arguably where Chinatown meets FiDi meets North Beach. The ambiance is unique, with exposed brick walls, comfortable leather couches and seats, a fireplace, and warm lighting that sets an intimate mood. 


Barbarossa Lounge

What struck us immediately upon visiting was the fact that Barbarossa’s walls are adorned with BDSM-themed artwork. Whether this is or isn’t your thing, it is a great conversation starter. 

The restrooms are lined with similarly BDSM-themed wallpaper, although you’ll have to take our word for it. 


Keep in mind that the basement dance floor only opens up on Saturday nights, so if you’re going to Barbarossa to dance, make sure you go on Saturday. Case in point: we went on Friday and found this:

Barbarossa Dance Floor


Barbarossa straddles FiDi and North Beach, and this is reflected in the audience that tends to show up. Think professional white-collar yuppies between 27-40 years old, wearing their work clothes from their job at Morgan Stanley. 

The crowd is racially diverse, but tends to sway Caucasian, Asian, and Middle Eastern - with a pretty even split across the board. 

Barbarossa Crowd

The upscale ambiance and ability to converse without screaming lends itself well to mingling. The provocative artwork is a great time-tested icebreaker when meeting new people, give it a shot! 

The Condo Weekly crew has met a lot of interesting new people at Barbarossa. If you’re new in town, you should definitely check it out!