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Up Your Alley

Ranging from the Belden Place gang and Biz to Specs and Julius' Castle, the New York Times profiles—and waxes poetic about—the many back alley establishments of San Francisco. Our favorite awkward moment involves the Times writer's experience at Harlot: "There were no working girls in attendance the night I tried to enter Harlot. But there was a working doorman. I was flying solo, and single men are about as popular at nightclubs as teetotalers at a tequila convention. Rebuffed, I retreated, but returned a couple of days later during a more relaxed happy hour ... The bartenders had spiky hair, and the music was already thumping at 6 p.m. I felt as old as the hookers who inspired the place, and walked out past a crowd of attractive young women talking excitedly about an Internet start-up." [NYT]