Love the Love in San Francisco: 10 Best Gay Clubs in Town

From Chinatown to the Mission, there are many distinct and famous neighborhoods in San Francisco. Some tourists might fail to visit one of the most historic neighborhoods in San Francisco, namely the Castro District, which is world-renowned for being a safe and welcoming place for gays. Harvey Milk, the first openly gay mayor in the United States, hailed from the Castro District. It was his work, and tragic death by an assassin, that helped galvanize the gay rights movement.

So, for those who want to really experience the heart and soul of San Francisco, it's almost a must to visit the Castro. Once you're there, you'll find a dizzying array of clubs to choose from.

Successfully finding a gay club in an unfamiliar city can be trying. That's why we've sought out the top candidates in San Francisco, detailing their clientele, music, and atmosphere. We let you know which ones cater to gay men or lesbians, what kinds of shows and entertainments they host, and what tracks the DJs spin. To tap into one of the most popular clubs in the area, head to Blackbird Bar. It's a telling example of what you can expect when you go out in San Francisco.



Truck has the essential elements of not just a great gay bar but a great bar, period. Easy and convenient location on 15th and Folsom Street in San Francisco, a fun neighborhood with plenty of other nightlife and dining options. Truck has a...  Read More



For those who really want to see the wilder side of gay clubs in San Francisco, head to Aunt Charlie's Lounge in the Tenderloin. Visitors who are unfamiliar with the area should be aware that the Tenderloin neighborhood has a reputation as the...  Read More



Named after the home of Toad in the classic children's story "Wind in the Willows," Toad Hall was one of the first gay clubs in the Castro. It's run by the same management as Badlands, another Castro classic. Where the Badlands in big and bold...  Read More

Lexington Club


The Lexington absolutely lives up to its name: a friendly neighborhood dyke bar. If that's not enough to get you in the door, then they also live up to an even grander promise: always a party, never a cover. If you're looking to party from the...  Read More

San Francisco Badlands


The big, bad daddy of them all, San Francisco Badlands has a state-of-the-art sound system and several monitors for a full-fledged club experience. The way to enjoy the Castro nightlife is, of course, to hop from club to club. Badlands is a...  Read More

Moby Dick Bar


Another venerable Castro club (not as old as Herman Melville, don't worry), Moby Dick is known for its 2 for 1 frozen margaritas. With a deal like that, even Ahab could forget about his white whale to drink, laugh and dance the night away at...  Read More



With it smelt-million dollar renovation in 2009, the Cafe went from one of the best gay nightclubs in San Francisco to one of the best nightclubs in all of the Bay Area. If your aim is to be surrounded by hundreds of people who just want to...  Read More

Nob Hill
The Cinch


The Cinch has a grand and gay history in San Francisco. Although the Castro is known as the gay epicenter in San Francisco, back in the 60's and 70's, it was Polk Street. And although Polk Street used to have many gay clubs and bars, The Cinch...  Read More



Blackbird Bar is truly a San Francisco neighborhood bar that welcomes everyone. Although it certainly qualifies as a gay bar, the eclectic mix of people from all walks of life makes it a really fun spot to hang out, no matter who you are. And if...  Read More

Bernal Heights


If you need a break from the Castro, check out the cozy and friendly Wild Side West in the adorable Bernal Heights neighborhood. Although billed as a lesbian bar, you'll find all types here, especially on their popular decks. That's right: in...  Read More


Meet Tom Molanphy

The only thing that Tom Molanphy loves more than the food, art, music, and culture of San Francisco is sharing it with others. San Francisco never gets old for Tom.

Tom has lived in the San...  More About Tom