Welcome to San Francisco Nightlife Gay Scene


2223 Restaurant & Bar

Restaurants & cafés

Expect vibrant dishes that awaken the senses at this sleek restaurant. There are Med, Mexican and Caribbean influences on the menu, and excellent pizza, pasta and fish. It's...

2223 Market Street

24 Henry Guesthouse & Village House

Hotels

All are welcome to this B&B, a handsome Victorian in the heart of the Castro. Of five furnished rooms, one has an en suite bathroom; the others share a double shower room with...

24 Henry Street
Tags: Gay friendlyB&B

440 Castro

Bars & pubs

Formerly Daddy's, the Castro's reigning leather bar, 440 Castro has reinvented itself as a moderately swanky lounge but hasn't quite managed to shake off its preening he-man...

440 Castro Street

Asia SF

 Critics' choice
Restaurants & cafés

Those lovely ladies who serve you? They're not. Not women, that is, nor drag queens. The sexy creatures who bring the food and dance seductively atop the long red bar are...

201 9th Street

Aunt Charlie's Lounge

Bars & pubs

Sports nights, stiff drinks, old-fashioned drag shows and lip-synching on weekends, plus a long-standing Tenderloin location all combine to make this a popular spot with loyal...

133 Turk Street

Badlands

Bars & pubsClubs

Young suburbanites drenched in scent and sporting the latest in designer label knock-offs flock to this flashy video bar, which boasts one of the few dancefloors in the Castro....

4121 18th Street

Bagdad Café

Restaurants & cafés

A bustling diner with a bird's-eye view of the busy Market-Noe intersection, this is a decent option for a sandwich, vegetarian lasagne or post-bar breakfast.

2295 Market Street

Beck's Motor Lodge

Hotels

Relatively cheap rates, a sun deck, private baths and, above all, a prime Castro location, help Beck's retain its popularity. Inside you'll find the tacky carpets and garish...

2222 Market Street

Brava! For Women in the Arts

Theatre

Housed in an old vaudeville theatre, Brava is one of few theatres that specialise in work by women of colour and lesbian playwrights.

Theatre Center, 2789 24th Street

Café Flore

 Critics' choice
Restaurants & cafés

Fresh-faced boys and girls crowd Flore's gorgeous patio day and night to check each other out and feast on local favourites (brunch is a must). Deep house and lounge tunes pump...

2298 Market Street

Castro Country Club

ClubsRestaurants & cafés

A great alternative to boozy nights, this club is home to clean and sober queers. There's a sitting room, a coffee bar and café, a room for board games, a video theatre and a...

4058 18th Street

Castro Theatre

 Critics' choice
Cinemas

One of San Francisco's finest and best-loved repertory cinemas, this movie palace was built in 1922. It became a registered landmark 55 years later, affording it proper...

429 Castro Street

Catch

Restaurants & cafés

This seafood restaurant has an enclosed heated outdoor deck and live piano music. Dishes are well turned out, but not exceptional. No one seems to mind, though: the bar fills...

2362 Market Street

Cinch

Bars & pubs

A double-shot of old-school San Francisco gay bar, circa 1979. With an ostensible Western theme, this comfortably ramshackle haunt harks back to the days when this stretch of...

1723 Polk Street

Deco Lounge

Bars & pubs

Laid out like a spacious 1940s piano bar, complete with plush decor and classic movie posters framed and artfully lit on the walls, Deco somewhat incongruously hosts many of...

510 Larkin Street

Eagle Tavern

Bars & pubs

A venerable gay bar offering all-male leather action, random mud-wrestling, goings-on in the beer garden and a chance to cosy up to gay (and straight) indie rockers and punk...

398 12th Street
Tags: Gay men onlyBar

Eight

Clubs

A solid, bi-level nightclub with a lovely lounge at the top and a rolling programme of themed events, Eight is also known for its attractive staff. Fridays host Dragon, a...

1151 Folsom Street

Emma's Coffee House

Restaurants & cafés

Emma's is the real deal when it comes to the mighty bean, serving robustly strong Italian-style coffee made the right way. Two iMacs are available for customer use (first...

1901 Hayes Street

Endup

 Critics' choice
Clubs

A fixture since 1973, the Endup boasts all-night house and techno madness on the weekends, plus a Saturday morning club from 6am and the legendary T-Dance from 6am on Sundays,...

401 6th Street

Esta Noche

Bars & pubsClubs

In business for decades, this gay-Latino-drag-sports bar attracts a gregarious, diverse clientele. There's a pool table for the daytime and animated drag shows and rousing...

3079 16th Street

Firewood Café

Restaurants & cafés

There's sometimes a queue outside the door for evening meals here, but the loyal customers are willing to wait. Menu standouts include melt-in-the-mouth roast chicken, pasta...

4248 18th Street

Gold's Gym Castro

Adult EntertainmentSport, health & fitness

Cruisey, with a steam room that can only be described as steamy. Friendly staff and a fierce sound system make Gold's popular with both gay boys and lesbians.

2301 Market Street

Gym SF

Sport, health & fitness

The Castro's most notorious men-only sweat palace, well laid-out, seriously steamy and with enough weights for even the most ardent muscle man.

2275 Market Street

Harvey's

Bars & pubs

The site of an infamous brawl with cops during the 1979 White Night riot that followed the lenient sentencing of Dan White, Harvey Milk's assassin, this bar-restaurant - named...

500 Castro Street

Hayes Valley Inn

Hotels

A European-style, 28-room pension in the centre of lively and lovely Hayes Valley. There's a bar, pets are welcome, and rooms have their own sinks. A kitchen and parlour are...

417 Gough Street
Tags: Gay friendlyHotelity

Hole in the Wall

Bars & pubs

This self-proclaimed 'nasty little biker bar', a veritable SoMa institution, is a magnet for the biker crowd, although gay locals and tourists seem to love it too. There's a...

1360 Folsom Street

Home

 Critics' choice
Restaurants & cafés

One of the Castro's can't-go-wrong options, this sceney restaurant has big-city atmosphere but small-town comfort. The crowd tends to be on the make, but that doesn't interfere...

2100 Market Street

Inn on Castro

Hotels

A beautifully restored Edwardian, with eight rooms and four apartments decorated with contemporary furnishings, original modern art and elaborate flower arrangements. The...

321 Castro Street

La Mediterranée

Restaurants & cafés

A well-established success, due in no small part to the owners' brilliant use of fresh ingredients. Everything is keenly priced, with terrific houmous and baba ganoush, plus an...

288 Noe Street

Lexington Club

Bars & pubs

A legendary lesbian-owned, lesbian-operated bar, where 'every night is ladies' night'. Primarily for the younger set, the Lexington has a pool table (free on Mondays) and full...

3464 19th Street
Tags: Lesbian onlyBar

Liberty Café

Restaurants & cafés

A neighbourhood gem that serves exquisite home-style American food. The chicken pot pie is a delight, while the desserts are among the best in the city, from the voluptuous...

410 Cortland Avenue

Lone Star Saloon

Bars & pubs

Once unabashed 'bear country', the Lone Star has of late become more of a fashion show for beauty bears. That said, it's still a jolly enough place, with pinball machines, a...

1354 Harrison Street

Mabel's Just for You Café

Restaurants & cafés

The popularity of the original version of this dyke-run café prompted the owners to move to these bigger quarters in Dogpatch, close to the Bay. The house speciality is a...

732 22nd Street

Magic Theatre

Theatre

Drawing its name from a line in Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf, the Magic Theatre has impressed locals throughout its 40-year history with stagings of groundbreaking works by the...

Building D, Fort Mason

Magnet

Sport, health & fitness

In response to rising HIV and STD rates among the city's queer men, community health groups have rallied to create Magnet. This welcoming space looks more like an upscale café...

4122 18th Street

Marlena's

Bars & pubs

An eclectic crowd (including drag queens on the weekends) shows up for the superb martinis at this treasured former speakeasy. A fold-down Murphy stage lends an eccentric, cosy...

488 Hayes Street

Martuni's

Bars & pubs

Martuni's is a warm, inviting piano bar with an open mic. The martinis are enormous, the music mostly show tunes, and the clientele extremely varied. The only gay bar to have...

4 Valencia Street

Metro

Hotels

The Metro is a gay-friendly establishment with a voluminous patio, and 24 well-appointed rooms with private baths in up-and-coming NoPa (North of Panhandle). Hip boutique...

319 Divisadero Street

Mezzanine

Clubs

This 900-capacity club and art gallery has two long bars bordering the ample dancefloor and lofty space upstairs. Local DJs and even some live acts hold court on the weekends,...

444 Jessie Street

Midnight Sun

Bars & pubs

The big draw at Midnight Sun is video - that is, classic and contemporary music cross-cut with comedy clips, The Sopranos or Sex and the City. Two-for-one cocktails are on...

4067 18th Street

Mix

Bars & pubs

This rough-and-ready sports bar is a haven for queer jocks and those who adore them. Fervent fans pack the place to root for the San Francisco '49ers, and sunny weekends see...

4086 18th Street

Moby Dick's

Bars & pubs

A true neighbourhood bar, Moby Dick's is exactly as it has been since the 1980s. It's popular with pool players (despite the fact that there's only one table) and pinball...

4049 18th Street

Orbit Room

Bars & pubs

This high-ceilinged art deco retreat with pedestal tables is a coffeehouse by day and a cocktail bar by night. The crowd is quite young, a mix of straights and queers, with...

1900 Market Street

PastaGina

Restaurants & cafés

An exceptional gourmet take-out joint selling fresh pasta and classy salads, as well as Sonoma chicken, Thai vegetarian rolls, sauces, dips, cheeses from various countries, and...

741 Diamond Street

Pilsner Inn

Bars & pubs

It all happens here, especially on the heated back patio. The Pilsner is a local favourite among youngish beauty boys, who play pool, pinball and computer games, or chat over...

225 Church Street

Powerhouse

Bars & pubs

White-hot and cruisey as hell, Powerhouse is one of the city's most popular gay bars. Entertainment includes buzz-cut nights, underwear or bare-chest parties, wrestling,...

1347 Folsom Street

QComedy Showcase

Comedy

What's so funny about queers? QComedy Showcase will tell you at its many shows about town. The ebullient Nick Leonard hosts and performs regularly; top-flight comics Heather...

Locations vary

Regalito Rosticeria

Restaurants & cafés

Opened in 2006 by chef Thomas Peña and his partner, Regalito offers Mexican-style cooking at its best. Hearty enchiladas verdes, delicately spiced chilli relleno, and the pollo...

3481 18th Street

Samovar

Restaurants & cafés

The Castro's only tearoom, this tranquil spot is a hit with locals searching out a quiet Zen-like refuge. There are more than 100 teas, plus, if you're peckish, healthy,...

498 Sanchez Street

Space 550

Clubs

Three ample dancefloors, live performances and seductive go-go dancers attract crowds of hip partygoers and sexy Latino queers to this warehouse club. Cream, every second...

550 Barneveld Avenue

Stray Bar

Bars & pubs

Recently opened and beautifully renovated, this girl bar attracts a heterogeneous clientele. The nightly entertainment varies from live blues and jazz singers to DJs spinning...

309 Cortland Avenue

Stud

Clubs

Now more than 40 years old, the Stud still has dancing all week. The crowd is mainly gay and male, but the club prides itself on being 'omnisexual'. Wondrous Heklina hosts the...

399 9th Street

The Café

Clubs

There's dancing every night at the Café, the Castro's largest and most popular club. Once the area's only women's bar, it now mainly attracts boys from outlying areas, but...

2369 Market Street

Theatre Rhinoceros

Theatre

Billing itself as the 'world's oldest continually producing, professional queer theatre', Rhino creates theatre that is genuinely inviting rather than self-segregating. Its...

2926 16th Street

Twin Peaks Tavern

Bars & pubs

Billing itself as 'the Gateway to the Castro', the snug Twin Peaks Tavern was one of the first gay bars in the US to brave the public gaze with street-level windows. Nowadays,...

401 Castro Street

Wild Side West

Bars & pubs

Probably the longest-lived lesbian hotspot in the city, Wild Side West really sees itself as just another neighbourhood bar. The walls are a shifting art installation, the...

424 Cortland Avenue
Tags: Lesbian onlyBar

Willows Inn

Hotels

This converted Edwardian has 12 comfy rooms with bentwood willow and antique furnishings. Baths are shared, but all rooms have vanity sinks. Soft kimono bathrobes are provided,...

710 14th Street

World Gym

Sport, health & fitness

The gym of gyms, where serious work is done. There are classes in almost everything, including yoga, boxing, Thai boxing, kickboxing and spin. The clientele takes in the whole...

290 De Haro Street
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