Without a doubt, San Francisco has the reputation of being one of the gay capitals of the world, and rightly so. Here, we look at some standout venues in the city’s legendary LGBTQI nightlife.


Cruisy, raunchy, and curiously boys-only, Powerhouse is the wildest bar/club in the city. From its origins as a leather bar, it has evolved into a place where hip young gays, drag queens, and kink fans all come together (no pun intended) on the dance floor.

Aunt Charlie’s Lounge

If you’re looking for fancy drinks and lavish décor, don’t have high expectations for Aunt Charlie’s Lounge. But for nights when you’re just looking for some good ol’ fun, few places can beat Aunt Charlie’s. It is a great reminder that a gay night out should be friendly, unpretentious and exciting.

440 Castro

There’s a reason why 440 Castro was once called Daddy’s. This much-beloved place for middle-aged patrons is still going as strong as ever, with plenty of themed nights and drink deals to keep the action going throughout the week.

Twin Peaks

Let the rainbow lights and big glass windows draw you in: Twin Peaks, the first gay bar in the Bay, is a local legend. The clientele here veers older, though increasingly, a younger crowd is dropping in after hours when they’re not ready to head home just yet.

SF Eagle

Leather-lovers will feel right at home at the SF Eagle. The venue is huge, and in the summer, a visit to the outdoor patio is a must. On Sundays you can expect to see the Eagle crowded with partiers partaking in the all-you-can-drink beer bust. Who knows, maybe you’ll join them too!


If you’re a professional (we’re using this term very loosely) twerker, head straight to Beaux. On weekends, dance parties run late (in SF standards, that is) and are filled to the brim with a young crowd. Fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race, stay calm, you may just see your favorite drag queens here.

Hi Tops

Hi Tops fills the much-needed niche of gay sports bars in the city. If you’re looking for a less dramatic night out, this is the place to be. Drop by on game day and grab a beer with the boys while you watch the home team on one of the many screens. If you’re lucky, you may score a goal along the way, too.

Last Call Bar

Visiting The Castro but not really looking for a crazy night out? Check out Last Call Bar. This chill and easy-going neighborhood establishment serves up cozy vibes, complete with a jukebox and a vintage fireplace, that will keep you happily buzzed until—you guessed it—last call.

Wild Side West

And no, in case you’re wondering, we haven’t forgotten our lesbian sisters. As the only remaining lesbian bar in town, Wild Side West has a lot riding on its shoulders; thankfully, it’s still going strong. Over the decades, the crowd has become increasingly mixed, but plenty of gay women throughout SF still make their way south to partake in the fun every week.