San Francisco Nightlife Tips by davequ Top 5 Page for this destination
San Francisco Nightlife: 417 reviews and 453 photos
Heklina & Lady Bunny
Most of the fun or interesting SF nightspots
from (Plush Room is CLOSED) to AsiaSF have already been done to death and done well on VT:
So try this place...
The Trannyshack is actually an event that happens every Tuesday night at the Stud Bar.
I have always pretended to be a
connoisseur of drag shows & cabarets
but this place (on this particular night anyway) took the cake.
First time I went was Tues. June 24, 2003.
Little did I know it was Gay Pride Week in SF, and a special night @ the Shack.
Heklina (your gracious host) had flown in the infamous, legendary, beautiful, & my alltime favorite Lady Bunny for a 1-night engagement ...(which was the reason I went there in the first place)
To say the place was packed would be an understatement. But everyone there was extremely kind, treated me very well, and Bunny's show was outstanding & hilarious.
I had forgotten how theraputic full-bodied laughter can be.
Take a cab, it's in a slightly hairy part of town.
WARNING: Heklina can be very salty both in person and at the website.
Do not sit with grandma and click recklessly on the heklina/Trannyshack weblink below: you never know what is going to pop up (n.p.i.).
Show time is midnight, and cover charge is $7
This photo by the Reverend was taken at the actual show I attended 6/'03. That's Heklina on the left, and venerable Lady Bunny on the right.
THANK YOU REV!! (Rev's website appears to be gone)
For millions of Trannyshack fotos - ( if you are over 18, have a yahoo/flickr account, and you are currently logged in ) you can click below:
(Warning: don't be cruisin' Heklina's flickr pages @ work)
NOTE - all good things must end. August, 23 2008 - TRANNYSHACK FAREWELL BONANZA!
Trannyshack will cease to exist as a weekly night event, with founder Heklina concentrating on bigger, special events.
Those needing a weekly SF Tranny"fix" can try catching Midnight Mass @ the Bridge theater (Geary & Blake) with Peaches Christ
or goto Aunt Charlie's
Dress Code: ....... Oh, very funny.....
This tip is posted in honor and memory of the greatest actor / "gender illusionist" of all time:
Here is a great Charles Pierce tribute site:
In Memory of Charles Pierce
my favorite & I think the funniest CPierce "bit" in the tip below.....
Address: 399 9th @ Harrison
Directions: SoMa (South of Market) between 101 and 80, corner of 9th & Harrison.
Phone: (415) 252-STUD
Theme: Adult Spot
In memory of the greatest actor-illusionist of all time, Charles Pierce, who imho did the best "Bette Davis" ever in long gone places like Finocchio's and the Fairmont Hotel.
"Blaaannnnche...... ya' didn't eat yer din-din.....
........so someone ELSE... is gonna' eat yer christmas puddin!!! "
Charles Pierce (1926 - 1999)
Check website below for some Charles Pierce / San Francisco history.
Peekin' at Contemporary Jazz Orchestra
aannnddd another one bites the dust. Closed. Here's the gory details
According to "Northside San Francisco ©" - "These days there is still jazz in North Beach: Joey and Eddie’s, the Washington Square Bar and Grill, and a few other restaurants and clubs feature jazz, much of it exemplary."
but this little 'gem' (Pearl's) will be missed. Thank you Madame Kim Nalley for trying, and for everything.
I'm keeping the old tip below for personal nostalgia.
It's not really free. Jazz at Pearl's is a nice club with good music.
The reason I say "free" is I walk by here all the time, and the night I took this picture they had the big windows wide open. We could stand on the sidewalk only about 10 feet from the stage, closer than many of the tables in the club.
I shot this pic of the band thru the open window.
The band that night, Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, were very good (bigtime good) and people were boppin' on the sidewalk & really enjoying the music (awfully generous of the club to do that: in itself imho it's reason enough to go there)
If I get a chance to go back I'll pay the cover and go inside as it looked like a fun club and the website shows some good acts on the upcoming calendar. Some good paintings on the wall too.
Dinner & show packages, looks like a good club, and I really enjoyed the extended peek I had.
Dress Code: Your non-slob jazz club duds. It looks like a "class" place to me
(yeah, like I would know class if I saw it....)
Address: 256 Columbus Ave
Directions: North Beach on Columbus Ave (at Broadway) on the "east" side of the street.
City Parking (Public Parking)
766 Vallejo Street (between Stockton and Powell) (415) 989-4490 or one of the lots on Broadway (North Beach parking is mostly cash only)
Phone: (415) 291-8255
Theme: Live Music
Enrico Banducci's Sidewalk Cafe
UPDATE 2011 New ownership again. Changing it's name to "TXOKO"
Here's the STORY
Good luck to new owners Ryan Maxey and Ian Begg (chef). And try naked lunch" next door in the old Enrico's takeout space.
update 2007 - despite the recent death of North Beach icon and originator Enrico Banducci, a new ENRICOs has just opened in the same location:
Carl Nolte from the SF Chronicle sent me an email telling me Ward (world's greatest bartender) is "involved" in the latest incarnation.
I like the feeling of Enrico's. Very pleasant, laid back and unassuming, with little to no "attitude." Enrico's is named after its founder, the great Enrico Banducci (rip) who was responsible for historic institutions like the old original hungri i (rip) and even Clown Alley.
The bartenders at Enrico's are pros: longtime SF / North Beach regulars who have seen a lot come and go.
Kick back & watch them "muddle" you a special drink sometime at the bar (try a kumquat caipiroshka, some other fruit drink, or a mojito), and ask one of the bartenders with some whiskers (Ward) to share few of the old stories from the early Finocchios days, which was upstairs at 506 Broadway. Some truly great & long-gone old SF days, legends and ghosts.
The live music is very good. Jazz and funk trios: the one (Hip Bones or the Macy Blackman Trio?) that was there this last Wed 7/20 could really sing and play well, lots of old jazzy New Orleans-style piano stuff. Very enjoyable. There is no cover charge.
Enrico's has a really comfortable heated patio, where you can sit and look down the small Kearny steet hill past the Lusty Lady peep show towards the beautiful old Sentinel / Coppola Cafe building.
Dress Code: Virtually none.
Food: New more upscale menu
But it's the atmosphere, history & vibe of the place I enjoy most.
Address: 504 Broadway
Directions: North Beach, Broadway at Kearny. Just a few doors down from the Broadway strip joints like the new hungri i.
Phone: 415-982-6223 is disconnected
Theme: Eating and Drinking
Nawlins was briefly in North Beach
CLOSED: Condor is now a "gentleman's"(?) / strip joint again
A little New Orleans landed in North Beach in the Condor @ the corner of Columbus & Broadway in North Beach.
UPDATE - CLOSED Fri 6/30/07
I lucked out and was cruisin' North Beach last night when I popped into this place. Though the Condor has been around a long time inside at street level is a new place with good New Orleans-style food and live jazz.
Jaeger family did seafood and jazz in New Orleans for decades and I think it's great they put one right in my favorite San Francisco neighborhood.
Good food & atmosphere, done up tastefully inside with a mix of old-looking decor and live media.
All the New Orleans specialties from oysters / shellfish, catfish, Shrimp Remoulade, gator sausage to the staples of Jambalaya & crawfish etouffee & some creole sauces to match. The inside is done up very well, and live music from Red Morgan & The New Orleans All Stars on the weekends. They stayed open and there was music until 2am.
Dress Code: Since it's a strip club again, wear your lap-dance resistant / drip-dry shirts.
Address: Northeast Corner of Columbus & Broadway
Directions: Broaday & Columbus in North Beach
Phone: 415 781-8222
Theme: Eating and Drinking
North Beach Blues
Just across the Fresno-alley from "the house" restaurant in North Beach is a really cool building, the Saloon.
An old historic original that survived all earthquakes & fires, it was supposedly in the old barbary coast days a nasty little place with prostitutes upstairs, while downstairs the bartenders were handing out Mickey Finns to naive customers before they were shanghaied.
It's now a funky and fun bar with good live bands. Local band bluesbars like this are becoming scarce. I always like this place. It is fun to stop in for music & beers, and something about it always makes me (and lots of other people) want to take a picture of it.
Here's the building in daytime and a closeup around 10:30 at night when a good local blues band was playing.
Dress Code: Wear your dirty jeans, a worn leather jacket
Small dance floor, and some of the bands are imho really pretty good, with excellent names like Johnny Nitro and the Doorslammers.
Address: 1232 Grant
Directions: Half a street "up" upper Grant street from Columbus avenue in North Beach, between Columbus and Vallejo, just around the corner from Cafe Trieste. (what a great neighborhood...)
Theme: Live Music
NEW Yoshi's club on Fillmore - All About Jazz
Now when I stay in the City I don't have to drive across the Bay Bridge into Oakland any more for great jazz. Yoshi's opened a place in the City at 1330 Fillmore at Eddy on the ground floor of the Fillmore Heritage Center! No more late night (semi-hammered) return trips back into town at 1am! Yeehaw!
my old Oakland tip below:
Even though it's a little drive across the bay to Oakland, Yoshi's is my favorite jazz club in the bay area.
Like Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle, Yoshi's has a good rep and books top international musicians into an excellent room with a near state of the art sound & light system to optimize the whole musical experience.
And they serve good sushi & drinks. Killer sushi and grilled robata steak.
It is worth the drive to Oakland, but now with the SF location @ 1330 Filmore, you don't have to.
Dress Code: It's dark, wear anything in the club. Dress up for the restaurant.
Supposedly the Fillmore block at Eddy is safe at night, but I'd valet or cab it if it was me. READ THESE DIRECTIONS for Yoshi's in the City.
Address: 1330 Fillmore Street - San Francisco 94115
Directions: Yoshis in the City located at 1330 Fillmore at Eddy on the ground floor of the Fillmore Heritage Center. Yoshi's is on the ground floor on the front side of the building. See website below for explicit parking instructions or you will get towed!
Phone: (415) 655-5600
Theme: Live Music
Savoy Tivoli is a North Beach bar. Good place for a drink, to hang out, play some pool.
Day or night I love the exterior.
My favorite thing about Tivoli is it sort of exemplifies a certain type of look some buildings in the City have.
I hate the fact that any more you get off a plane in lots of cities and towns in the US and they all mostly seem to have the same unsatisfying plastic "chrome & glass" look and feel:
I would be willing to bet you could blindfold people, take them to North Beach, point them at the Savoy Tivoli, remove the blindfold, and the first thing most of them would say is:
"oh yeah, we must be in San Francicso,"
and thank God for that.
Dress Code: young casual bar clothing
Address: 1434 Grant Ave
Directions: North Beach, corner of Union and Grant
Phone: (415) 362-7023
Theme: People Watching
brother, can you spare a quarter?
and speaking of the Lusty Lady, here she is on the right side of Kearny looking down from Enrico's.
The thing I like most about this place is the girls, tired of being pushed around and taken advantage of by the original owners, got together, fought all the dirty tricks & overcame all the sleazy obstacles to not only form a union so the ladies could have a decent wage, benefits, and some days off,
but eventually bought the place, making it one of the few worker-owned peep & strip shows around.
You go, ladies!!
There is a cool documentary I have seen named "Live Nude Girls Unite" that shows in detail all the trials and tribulations the girls had to overcome to unionize the Lusty Lady. Very inspiring, whether you have a personal problem with sex work & peep shows or not: highly recommended and inspirational viewing.
Dress Code: Bring your own towel (?) ... I don't know, maybe a bag full of quarters..... I have only been in the lobby to chat with the staff & bouncers asking them naive tourist questions.
(wink, nudge )
I personally like the fact that the Lusty Lady features live nude girls, as opposed to
dead nude girls, which would not appeal to me in the slightest.
Address: 1033 Kearny Street
Directions: Just off ("east") Columbus one block on Kearny between Broadway and the Pacific/Columbus juncture.
Right next door to Larry Flynt's Hustler Club.
Phone: (415) 391-3991
Theme: Adult Spot
Inside just past the bar
Just off Columbus on Green St between and on the same block as Capp's Corner & Club Fugazi ( home of Beach Blanket Babylon ) is my fave Irish Pub in North Beach, O'Reilly's.
Great place to duck in for some conversation and an ale. The inside is more-than-amusing, the bartenders can be fun & interesting, and the authentic irish pub-grub, french fries & ale are really good. This would be a great place for a St. Patty's day crawl, but I like it anytime.
Good cheap North Beach parking in the little alley right next door at Allen Coe's private lot, probably one of the cheapest / best / safest parking deals in North Beach.
Allen lives right above the lot so your car is relatively safe, and he charges less than most people, so if you're driving into North Beach give Allen a shot, he is a good guy.
But if you're just walking around North Beach or exiting Beach Blanket Babylon stop in O'Reilly's for a pint from the ould sod.
Slam a Bushmills, check the murals on the back wall, & say "hi" to the zombie in the coffin for me.
Dress Code: casual
Address: 622 Green St
Directions: North Beach on north side of Green St between Columbus and west on Green, right before you get to Powell st
Other Contact: email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (415) 989-6222
Theme: Eating and Drinking
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