The revels of SantaCon, when people dress up in Kris Kringle and elf costumes, got under way Saturday afternoon and went on into the night, the Bay City News Service reported.
The event, which began in San Francisco in 1994, was loosely coordinated with a list of bars and times to convene posted on a blog.
"I would say we're about on par with the number of Santas from last year," said Michael Thompson, a manager at Harvey's gay bar and restaurant in the Castro neighborhood.
"A boatload of Santas rolled in at about 5 p.m.," said Jason, a bartender at Gold Cane Cocktail Lounge in Haight-Ashbury. He said some 150 costumed partiers were "playing pool and carousing," he said.
About 50 Santas showed up at the Lucky 13 on Market Street around 6:30, bartender Martin Kraenkel said. "Every year we get hundreds and hundreds of them, so we've always been super packed."