San Francisco

Celebrate Pride Month at the best gay bars in San Francisco

Most Pride parades in the United States take place in the month of June, to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots.

But there's more to Pride than a single parade: Many gay bars and other gathering places have special events all month long.

With San Francisco Pride weekend (June 29-30) less than two weeks away , Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top gay bars in San Francisco, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of the best places to hit the town for celebration and community.

1. Twin Peaks Tavern

photo: tom W./Yelp

Topping the list is Twin Peaks Tavern. Located at 401 Castro St. (between 18th and 17th streets) in the Castro, it's the highest-rated gay bar in San Francisco, boasting four stars out of 181 reviews on Yelp.

Twin Peaks, which calls itself "the Gateway to the Castro," opened in 1938 and began welcoming an LGBTQ+ clientele in 1972. It's been a focal point of San Francisco's gay community ever since — so much so that in 2013, the Board of Supervisors awarded it landmark status.

The bar's most distinctive feature is its huge, plate-glass windows, which were the antithesis of the often hidden gay bars of the pre-Stonewall era.

2. Oasis

Photo: scott b./Yelp

Next up is SoMa's Oasis, situated at 298 11th St. (between Folsom Street and Burns Place). With 4.5 stars out of 213 reviews on Yelp, the gay dance club and cabaret spot has proven to be a local favorite.

A relative newcomer to the scene, Oasis was opened in 2015 by San Francisco drag legends Heklina and D’Arcy Drollinger. Its diverse roster of programming includes shows featuring local and visiting drag stars; musical theater and cabaret; live music; and dance nights with DJs.

Events for Pride Week will include a pool party, a dance night and a celebration of the 40th anniversary of leather shop Mr. S Leather.

3. Last Call Bar

Photo: kevin h./Yelp

The Castro's Last Call Bar, located at 3988 18th St. (between Sanchez and Noe streets), is another top choice, with Yelpers giving it 4.5 stars out of 91 reviews.

If you'd rather chat by the fireplace than set the town ablaze, this low-key neighborhood gay bar may be your place. Its website boasts that it has the longest happy hour in the neighborhood (noon to 7 p.m. daily), along with a jukebox stocked with '80s favorites and football games on TV during the season. 

4. Wild Side West

Photo: cARLA F./Yelp

Over in Bernal Heights, Wild Side West is another go-to, with four stars out of 267 Yelp reviews. Head over to 424 Cortland Ave. (between Bennington and Wool streets) to see for yourself.

Originally opened as a lesbian bar in Oakland in 1962, Wild Side moved around a bit during the '60s, adding "West" to its name before landing in Bernal Heights in 1976. According to its website, it battled neighborhood disapproval in its early days, but has settled in as a neighborhood favorite with a cozy beer garden and homey vibe.

5. The Cinch

Photo: GLORIA H./Yelp

Last but not least, there's The Cinch, a Nob Hill favorite with four stars out of 213 reviews. Stop by 1723 Polk St. (between Washington and Clay streets) to hit up the gay bar and dance club next time the urge strikes.

Yelper Vincent L. writes that The Cinch is one of the "last of its kind" along Polk Street, with fast, friendly bartenders, a welcoming crowd and reasonable prices. For Pride Weekend, they'll be hosting a Sunday-afternoon garden party with food, games and face painting.

This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.


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