Gay Tourism/Alamy

Sometimes you want to dance... and sometimes you just want nachos.

July 22, 2017

Widely regarded as a top gay travel destination, the City by the Bay has a nightlife scene that’s famously queer-friendly. Here are some of the best gay bars and clubs in San Francisco.

For the Dancing: Beaux

Beaux is where the young and beautiful come to party, sashaying through the multi-level club and dancing to a reliably fabulous playlist of pop and Top 40 remixes. A relative newcomer, opening in 2014, it has reinvigorated the Castro nightlife scene with a full calendar of events, each with corresponding drink specials, of course.

For the Cocktails: Blackbird

Seasonal cocktails are the main draw at Blackbird, a lively Castro lounge with leather banquettes, distressed wood tables, Edison bulbs and a rotating gallery showcasing local artists. Expect a wide range of craft drinks, from spicy mezcal and kiwi concoctions to bourbon and coffee blends.

For the Bikers: The SF Eagle

Grab your leather jacket and head to The SF Eagle, San Francisco’s iconic biker bar. The rowdy (and usually hairy) crowds from Friday and Saturday return on Sunday afternoons for a weekly beer bust: unlimited brews for just $12.

For the Bikers, Too: Lone Star Saloon

Lone Star Saloon draws a similarly hirsute crowd to The SF Eagle, but is slightly less wild than its counterpart a few blocks away. Open since 1989 (and now under the ownership of two of its longtime bartenders) it’s the number one spot for burly and bearded SF men to play pool or enjoy a beer on the often-packed back patio.

For the Nachos: Hi Tops

Few gay sports bars are actually as sports-focused as Hi Tops. Stop by during a Giants or 49ers game and you’ll find hoards of fans yelling at the big screen TVs (and at the barkeeps for refills). It’s a favorite spot for local softball, kickball, and volleyball league teams to celebrate with pitchers of beer and, if they’re smart, nachos. The hefty plate comes loaded with all the fixings, like tender pulled pork and fresh avocado.

For the Live Shows: The Stud

For more than 50 years, The Stud has been San Francisco’s premier gay bar for live entertainment, drawing the likes of Etta James, Bjork, Lady Gaga, and RuPaul. Stop by any night of the week and you’ll find something happening onstage, from karaoke (hosted by the hilarious Miss Flora Goodthyme) to drag cabaret and burlesque shows.

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