San Francisco Gay Bars Guide –the Best in San Francisco Gay Nightlife
There’s nothing like the gay nightlife scene in San Francisco. And while the Castro still has the highest concentration of gay bars in the city, theSoMa district also has much to offer. Check out these hotspots in the world’s gay mecca.
- SoMa district
Embarcadero to 11th St
SoMa, more formally known as South of Market, stretches from the Mission District all the way to the bay. Filled with swanky new condos and refurbished warehouses, this trendy areaboasts some of the city’s most historic gay bars.
The End Up has been around since 1973 – the nightclub attracts a mixed crowd of queer and straight party-goers. The Stud, which has been in business for half a century, is open seven days a week.
SoMa is also synonymous with gay leather culture. The Folsom Street Fair draws tens of thousands of fetishists to the area each September, while Up Your Alley caters to leather enthusiasts every July.
At the annual Folsom Street Fair
- Anchor Oyster Bar
579 Castro St
This locally-owned restaurant brings you fresh seafood – dig into some crab cakes, steamed mussels, and wild prawns. The menu is straightforward but reliable. The quality of the food is consistent, and the presentation is simple. Drop by for dinner before hitting the bars. Their infamous oyster shooters are not to be missed either.
- Aunt Charlie’s Lounge
133 Turk St
This well-loved drag bar producesa heady series of parties that attract drag aficionados and the curious. Come here for great live music and even greater performances by Gingersnap and Pinky. The Hot Boxxx Girls Drag Show is among the best of its kind – watch professional drag queens pay tribute to icons like Cher and Madonna for a night you won’t forget.
2344 Market St
One of the latest additions to the Castro’s gay scene, Beaux boasts an extensive cocktails list. Try Beaux-Tot, their signature cocktail, and drop by for weekly events like Happy Mondays and Piano Bar Thursdays. It’s a great place to unwind and meet new people. Go-go dancers heat up the bar on Manimal Fridays, while Saturdays feature revolving events.
- Blackbird Bar
2124 Market St
Enjoy made-to-order cocktails at Blackbird, which also offers a fantastic selection of wines and craft beers. The bar also doubles as an art space, where you can buy art and admire current exhibits. Spend the weekend drinking great beer and playing billiards with your friends. The space can also be reserved for parties and other private events.
- The Café
2369 Market St
Formerly known the Castro’s leading lesbian dance club, The Café has come to attract a mixed group of queer party-goers over the last few years. The renovated space, which has two levels and three bars, has a contemporary and stylish feel to it. Drop by for their weekly events – I Candy Fridays are well-attended, with go-go dancers and a DJ in tow.
- Cafe Flore
2298 Market St
If you’d rather have great conversation in a subdued setting, Café Flore is the place to go. The restaurant serves brunch and dinner. Grab some coffee, have a taste of their slow-roasted beef, or try the mac n’ cheese. The best seats overlook the sidewalk, offering views of one of the busiest and most vibrant intersections in the city.
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