POLK STREET AREA AND DOWNTOWN
N'Touch (1548 Polk St; 415-441-8413) is the disco of choice for Asian men. The Cinch Saloon (1723 Polk St; 415-776-4162) is another of Polk Street's longtime favorites, with a campy Wild West decor and a laid-back crowd. Head to the handsomely restored Deco Lounge (510 Larkin St.; 415-346-2025) to watch male strippers strut their stuff every evening (till 3 a.m. on weekends). A bit east of the Polk Street area in downtown San Francisco, Ginger's Trois (246 Kearny St.; 415-989-0282) has long been one of the city's only downtown gay bars. It's a quiet little spot with an attractive interior, the only real bet downtown.
Circuit-style parties are put on by Gus Presents; these take place at a variety of different venues, and the names and themes of these events change from time to time. It's best to check out the Gus Presents website for information on the current hottest happenings. Mezzanine (444 Jessie St; 415-625-8880; $15-$75) has a New York warehouse feel. Mingle among the writhing masses on the dance floor, or chill out with the hipsters on the velvet couches in the mezzanine-level lounge.
The End Up (401 6th St; 415-646-0999) was an old bathhouse before it became the indoor-outdoor bar and dance club it is today. The End Up is a venerable institution, known for its wet jockey shorts contests in the ‘70s, as highlighted in Tales of The City. With the demise of the drag cultural event that was Trannyshack, The Stud?s star may have dimmed just slightly, though several club nights, including the girth-friendly Planet Big on Sundays, keep luring ?em in. On Thursday and Sundays, Sundance Saloon (550 Barneveld St; 415-820-1403), is a friendly and lively country-western dance party drawing a mix of gay men and lesbians.
For a full nightlife run-down, pick up a copy of Gloss Magazine in the Castro or SoMa (510-451-2090).
The Mission-based Lexington Club (3464 19th St; 415-863-2052) is the perfect neighborhood bar -- dark, warm, and full of cute dykes. This low-key dive offers all the basic amenities of your average corner pub: one pool table and one juke box, with two ladies' rooms full of provocative graffiti. No dancing and little attitude, just a comfy dyke-owned hangout. Weekend nights are packed, and on Monday nights the pool table is free.
A hidden treat is Bernal Heights? Wild Side West (424 Cortland Ave; 415-647-3099), less a lesbian bar than a neighborhood bar in a mainly lesbian neighborhood. It's quirky, kooky, and has a lovely garden out back. It?s a hidden gem indeed.
Part One | Part Two | Part Three
San Francisco: Introduction
San Francisco: Where to Stay
San Francisco: Where to Eat
San Francisco: What to See & Do
San Francisco: Where to Shop
San Francisco: Resources