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Originally published in the May 2009 issue of The Advocate.
BOC (Bar on Church)
Castro bar impresario Greg Bronstein closed the old BOC (Bar on Castro) in January 2009 but has opened a similarly stylish bo?te with the same initials just a few blocks away in the old Transfer bar space. The sexy Bar on Church has quickly become San Francisco?s new gay ?it? spot, with its pulsing sound system, mod lighting, and packed, energetic parties -- from Manic Mondays (?80s tunes) to hip-hop Thursdays.
Ferry Building Marketplace
Set inside the iconic late-19th-century Ferry Building, the city?s one-stop source for everything pertaining to cookery and fine food comprises a slew of notable food stalls and boutiques. Hit Cowgirl Creamery for stinky-delicious artisan cheeses, Boccalone to sample orange-and-wild-fennel salami, and Far West Fungi for truffles and exotic mushrooms galore. Eateries like Taylor?s Refresher and Lulu Petite make the marketplace an exceptional place to dine in too.
A cheeky homage to the 1958 Alfred Hitchcock thriller Vertigo, this new 102-room boutique property occupies the former Empire Hotel, which appeared prominently in the movie (Kim Novak?s tragic character Judy lived there). Whimsically furnished rooms, a restaurant by buff TV cooking star Tyler Florence, and a handy location between Nob Hill and Civic Center have made this new hotel a dizzying success.
Valencia Street Noshing
How do you choose among the stellar array of hip neighborhood restaurants along bustling Valencia Street in the lesbian-chic Mission District? Simple: Plan a progressive dinner. Start with chili-fried prawns at the contemporary Indian restaurant Dosa, move on to grilled swordfish with endive and celery root at Conduit, and finish by indulging in chocolate crepes with blood oranges, chocolate gelato, and candied ginger at Range.
Eagle Tavern Sunday Beer Bust
Maybe it?s the expansive patio or the all-you-can-drink draft beer; whatever the reason, the Eagle Tavern?s Sunday beer bust is always packed. Though it?s a leather bar, the Sunday crowd draws a cross section of San Francisco?s eclectic gay population: punks, fetishists, fairies, artists, and nonconformists of all ages. Women, though greatly outnumbered, are welcome as well.