It is unfortunate but true that gay nightlife is on a downswing nationwide as more LGBTQ people turn to smartphone apps to find mates and hookups. But while longtime queer-friendly spaces may be disappearing in San Francisco and other cities, queer people in most of America, including here, understand that actual, physical social spaces are still vital to the culture.
Two neighborhoods where gay nightlife thrived in the 1970s, the Castro and SoMa, are still home to the majority of SF’s gay bars, and Oakland is home to what is likely the longest continuously operating gay bar in the country, The White Horse, which officially opened in 1933 at the end of Prohibition. Meanwhile, Polk Street, where an explosion of gay bars began in the mid-1960s and continued through the 1990s, has only one sole survivor from that era, The Cinch.
When it comes to dancing, you can find some at a couple of SF spots (and the “White Ho”) on a regular basis, but big dance clubs are now a thing of the past. For SF gays, it’s all about monthly themed parties, often held at locations that are straight most other nights.
Below, a selection of the most essential spots for LGBTQ boozing around the Bay, listed geographically from West to East.Read More