Thursday, August 09, 2007

San Francisco #3: It's A-Rainin' Men!

San Fran being the gay old city that it is, one would be remiss not to stop in a few of the gay bars in town. I am no stranger to gay bars, so I was in my element. But straight people are also quite welcome in most gay bars. In fact, one bar was jam packed with young men and women - some lesbians, but also girls with their boyfriends, and more than a few Wills-and-Graces.

The night first saw me in the slightly seedy SoMa part of town. Okay, seedy after 9 PM, and near the Civic Center which even the travel guides say is not the greatest neighborhood to hang around in. Here I visited the Powerhouse Bar, recommended to me by some friends of mine back down in San Bernardino. Given that it was a Wednesday night, and I was there early - still on Eastern time - there weren't many people there. But the bartender, who had apparently bought a cheesecake for his boyfriend's birthday and had it on the counter for him, was both adorable and damn charming, and got me a Pilsner Urquell draft for $2.50 (happy hour till 10). I had two of those, and then a Guinness (bottle, after happy hour) for $4.50. I'd like to see it when it's more crowded.

Also recommended was the Eagle Tavern. I've noticed that there are a few Eagles throughout the country - New York, LA, Washington, San Fran, and of course in Baltimore, to name a few. These are of the "leather and levis" variety. The folks in these bars are more like to strike up a conversation and less likely to have a pole up their - okay, bad analogy. But they are friendly, and not just in a frisky way. I never made it over there, unfortunately, but I thought I'd mention it.

Back in the Castro I wandered around to see what other bars I could find, and encountered the charming little Edge SF, again with friendly and adorable batenders. Here I had another draft, I forget of what, and chatted with some fellow who, again, was quite drunk. All this drinking on a school night! I loved the decor in here. It looked like a rock outcropping was growing out from over the bar. Next to that were the light fixtures with feather boas in red, white and blue hanging down from overhead. Very cool!

Last I came to the very popular 440 Castro. It advertises itself as a "leather" bar but is nothing of the sort. At first I was put off because it looked like they were turning away "certain people" (read: "You're not attractive enough to get in here") from the door, so I snubbed the place. But later I found out it was just packed and the people hanging around outside couldn't get in because they coldn't fit. Absolutely packed when I got in ($1 cover charge), wall to wall people, gay and straight, male and female, young and old (but much more young). I started developing claustrophobia last night in the 440!

Not in the mood to spend anymore money or do anymore investigating of gay night life in San Francisco, I headed back to the B&B. Next stop? More dim sum? I don't know. I think I'm dim sum'd out.


Fairfax said...

Sounds like you're having a ball... so to speak. Missing all of the fun weather back here. Rained this afternoon, which made it bearable.

Alex said...

Mmm yes, happy hour until 10. That's like 1-2am on Eastern Drunk Time.

Anonymous said...

The Castro is fun! We went to visit my friend who lives there and had a great time.

John said...

Fairfax: Ooooh, I'm glad I am here where it's dry.

Alex: If only Happy Hours could last that long in... wait, maybe that wouldn't be a good thing in Baltimore!

Atlanta Social: It was quite fun! But since it was a weeknight, I don't think it was as, ahem, interesting as it could've been. Oh well, I'll just have to go back on a weekend someday.