While longtime queer spaces may be disappearing in San Francisco and other cities, queer people in most of America, including in the Bay Area, 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 San Francisco 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 spots (and the “White Ho”) on a regular basis, but big dance clubs are now a thing of the past. For SF’s queer community, it’s all about monthly themed parties, often held at locations that are straight most other nights.
Below, find a selection of the most essential drinking spots for LGBTQ crowds around the Bay, listed geographically from West to East.
Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.Read More