Billed as the nation's longest running musical review, Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon performs hilarious spoofs of pop culture with great voices, spectacular costumes, outrageously gigantic hats and a succession of show-stopping numbers. The Golden Gate Bridge on someone's head? But of course. Adults only for evening performances; minors welcome at Sunday matinees.

If your taste in nightlife tends towards the classy, dress to impress, and step into the 1930s-era glamour of Harry Denton's. The chic club is known for incredible live music, elegant decor, suited doormen, and a brief, upscale menu. Nightly rhythms are provided (Thursday through Saturday) by the best local swing and jazz artists; earlier in the week, DJs are standard. Since the club sits atop the Drake Hotel, you're sure to get spectacular views of downtown and the bay. And you may just spot some celebrities too!

Photo courtesy of used in book.

A penchant for the dramatic colors this entire enterprise, which is simultaneously a restaurant, bar and (downstairs) dance club. An Asian theme is served by shoji screens, bamboo accents and a recurring dragon motif. Perhaps, though, the most intriguing aspect of Asia SF is that servers are also female impersonators (or "gender illusionists," as they're called here). While watching them perform, take advantage of fantastic California-Asian cuisine, along with desserts, signature cocktails and an award-winning wine list. Required dinner reservations guarantee your table for an hour and 45 minutes.

Bubble Lounge

This downtown establishment frequently draws business folks intent on relaxing after a day at the office. Wines and champagnes are prominent; in fact, the menu boasts more than 300 types of champagne (as the name would suggest). For versatility, some are available by the glass. A small selection of gourmet appetizers and tantalizing desserts can be found as well. Downstairs, there's a pool table and a second bar area. A festive, see-and-be-seen atmosphere.

First Crush

A small, intimate jewel with a contemporary setting and a notable wine bar, First Crush specializes in Californian wines. The sleek, elegant establishment offers bottles, half-bottles, and flights, depending on your intent, and it presents household standards and newcomers alike. The menu, too, is upscale and well-crafted, perfectly in synch with the wines. Appetizers and desserts are particularly favored.

Photo courtesy of used in book.

If you mourn the glamour that characterized Hollywood in the '30s and '40s, this refined supper club provides reason to rejoice. Tucked discreetly down an alley, the polished space soars with high ceilings, grand columns and moody lighting. While Bix's accomplished cuisine finds enormous favor with patrons, its much-loved bar is a regular haunt of after-work professionals and upscale city residents who adore the club's elegant style. Perfect martinis are the drink of choice, and live jazz nightly adds an extra measure of class. A great social scene is always in the making.

This elegant lounge, once a penthouse suite, affords amazing, panoramic views from a lofty, 19th-floor perch. Its well-to-do clientele appreciate the place's romantic ambience, along with live entertainment and creative cocktails, especially as they watch San Francisco glow golden in the evening sun. Although Top of the Mark has been around since 1939, its allure never seems to diminish. And with great service and a reputation as a must-visit, the lounge remains ready to deliver many more years of satisfaction.

Empire Plush Room
Photo courtesy of used in book.

Born in the '20s as an illicit speakeasy, Plush Room originally plied guests with well-mixed drinks and premiere entertainment. These days, performers are still top-notch, and the atmosphere remains convivial, but patrons imbibe freely without fear of reprisal. Romantic surroundings set the scene for a variety of entertainments, including vocal performances and comedy acts. The club also attracts many a dating couple, who love the intimate venue's attentive servers, great drinks and sublime talents.

The Tenderloin
Suite one8one
Photo courtesy of used in book.

Draped in pale panels of fabric and accented with soft lighting and clean-lined furniture, this club has become one of the city's hottest tickets. A crowd of well-coiffed, well-dressed patrons, once they move past the velvet rope, enter a world inundated with sensuous house, funk and hip-hop grooves. Dancing finds favor upstairs and down, and an outdoor patio welcomes trend-setters who want a break from the action. VIP rooms are available as well. Great for late-night fun and socializing.

Apartment 24

With a design theme predicated on pale, translucent curtains, sleek furnishings, and flickers of candlelight, Dolce pays tribute to its name and to the club's buzzwords: sweet, soft, smooth. The combination dance club-and-lounge also features a long, glass-topped bar where you can nurse a creative cocktail and catch up with friends. Local DJs keep the vibe relaxed with R&B, house, rock, and hip-hop. Weekends can be especially busy, and if you don't reserve a seat in advance, be prepared to mill about. Dress to impress.