San Francisco has long been known for its vibrant gay and lesbian community, and it has the nightlife to prove it.
The city is home to a wide variety of bars and clubs featuring drag shows, costume nights, themed drinks, and wild dancing.
With the help of our friends at Yelp, we compiled a list of the 10 best gay bars in San Francisco. They’re spread out across the city and each offers something different, from a nautical theme to Monday Drag Nights.
All 10 of the spots on the list get a single dollar sign rating from Yelp and offer great drink deals, proving that you don’t need to spend a lot to have a great time in the Golden Gate City.
Known for theme nights like a weekly Underwear Party and a liberal attitude towards pornography, Powerhouse makes for a rowdy night out in San Francisco's SoMa neighbourhood.
'The drinks are reasonably priced and fairly strong, although I'm mostly a beer drinker as well. It may smell like beer or piss from time to time but that's part of its charm. This bar is NOT for the faint of heart; but, that's why it's located in SOMA and not the Castro. Long live, Powerhouse!' Demetri M. wrote.
As its former name, Daddy's, might suggest, 440 Castro caters to a slightly older crowd, but that doesn't stop it from serving up hearty drinks from the hands of friendly, efficient bartenders. Yelpers call it a 'bar for bears,' and Tuesday is $US2 beer night.
'This Place is awesome! In the Heart of the Castro with no qualms of being a gay bar it rocks your socks off and much more if you let it!' Curtis C. wrote.
SF Badlands is part bar and part dance club, blasting pop anthems from the '80s and '90s while playing music videos from the Spice Girls and Cher in the background. The drinks are strong, but be prepared as it's cash only.
'Badlands has been and always will be my favourite gay bar. Cheap drinks, great bartenders, dance floor with disco ball and tons of video screens playing the best in guilty pleasure diva-licous dance pop,' Sandy C. wrote.
Lexington Club caters to the lesbian crowd -- it advertises itself as 'Your Friendly Neighbourhood Dyke Bar' -- and scores points for its jukebox and chill vibe. From Whiskey Wednesday to Queeraoke, it's a great stop on a night out any day of the week.
'A lesbian bar is a rarity, seeing that most of us are packed into some gay boy bar the one night a week they have lady events. The drinks are cheap, the crowd is always full of smiles. The jukebox and pool table are priceless amenities,' Candice S. wrote.
Boasting 'San Francisco's Best Happy Hour,' Tuesday karaoke, and a spacious outdoor patio, Toad Hall Bar is a popular spot in the Castro neighbourhood. Music videos play on the walls and Yelpers go crazy for the 2-for-1 drink specials.
'I've never had anything but a great time here. Monday night's (Rupaul's Drag Race Night) are killer and they always have contestants of the show performing live from that season. Not to mention their famous 2-for-1 happy hours,' Derrick C. wrote.
Another top spot in the Tenderloin, Aunt Charlie's is bathed in neon light and famous for its drag shows and free popcorn. A jukebox offers fun tunes on the nights when there isn't a DJ playing '70s funk.
'Cheap drinks, crazy clientele, entertainment from some talented . . . uh, ladies. Aunt Charlie's Lounge is more than a bar it's a life waiting to happen,' Alexander R. wrote.
Trax is a low-key spot playing lots of different music, from top 40 to ska and everything in between. Yelpers love the margaritas and Bloody Marys at this neighbourhood favourite in the Haight.
'Classic dive bar here folks. Red lighting, a pool table, a chill crowd, and decent tunes make this a neat hang out spot for happy hour. Oh yeah, and solid $US3 margaritas right smack in the middle of upper haight knock this up a star,' Sean C. wrote.
Monday is all-night happy hour and Friday is Rock-n-Roll Drag Explosion at this lively Nob Hill favourite. The Cinch has a fun but casual atmosphere, with features like throw-back arcade games like Ms. Pacman and Japanese game shows playing on the TVs.
'It's a really safe, divey space to grab a few cheap drinks. Love the decor--tons of edgy prints and paintings along with a bunch of rainbow disco balls that somehow come off as fun instead of tacky. Great music, fun times. Everyone knows your name,' Jen H. wrote.
Truck is a dive bar and dance club rolled into one, topped off with a trucker theme and delicious food offerings like chicken tamales and spicy wings. The bartenders often go shirtless and licence plates adorn the walls, making this bar a must-stop in San Francisco's Mission neighbourhood.
'The vibe inside Truck is amazing. Cozy (but not cramped), casual, industrial -- complete with mudflaps. There's also vintage porn projected onto the wall, but you wouldn't know it unless you squinted and looked closely,' David G. wrote.
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