7 Best Gay Bars in San Francisco

Twin Peaks Tavern
Twin Peaks Tavern (401 Castro St). Twin Peaks Tavern

San Francisco's LGBTQ history is legendary, and so is its nightlife—from the Castro to SoMa and beyond.

Below, check out our picks for the best gay bars in San Francisco.

View an interactive Google Maps list of some of the best gay bars in San Francisco.

1. Aunt Charlie's Lounge

Aunt Charlie’s Lounge
Aunt Charlie’s Lounge (133 Turk St). Aunt Charlie’s Lounge

One of the last remaining gay dives in the Tenderloin, Aunt Charlie's is home to potent cocktails and legendary drag shows, like the Hot Boxxx Girls revue held every Friday and Saturday night.

133 Turk Street

2. Hi Tops

Hi Tops
Hi Tops (2247 Market St). Hi Tops

With 16 flat-screen TVs, this Castro sports bar is a great place to watch the game—whatever your sport is. Another draw is delicious pub grub, like loaded nachos, buffalo wings and pork chops on a stick. Of course there's plenty of draft beer on tap, but don't sleep on the craft cocktails.

2247 Market Street

3. Jolene's

Jolene's (2700 16th St). Jolene's

Since opening in late 2018, Jolene has been a welcoming spot frequented mostly by lady-loving ladies. (Their popular Friday night party, UHaul, is one of the only weekly lesbian bashes in SF.) Signature cocktails sport whimsical names—like the Golden Sour (Kettle Citron, elderflower, banana, egg whites and gold dust) and Knuck If She Buck (Treecraft whiskey, strawberry, rhubarb and ginger beer)—while the menu adheres to comfort-food faves like pulled pork sandwiches, avocado egg rolls and Impossible (i.e. meatless) sliders. (Note: the kitchen is open Thursdays and Friday nights and on weekends for brunch.)

2700 16th Street

4. Lone Star Saloon

Lone Star Saloon
Lone Star Saloon (1354 Harrison St). Lone Star Saloon

This ain't no cowboy bar: Originally opened in 1989, this SoMa saloon has become the unofficial headquarters of San Francisco's bear community. In summer, cubs, grizzlies and daddy bears—and the guys who love them—all prowl the back patio.

1354 Harrison Street

5. Oasis

Oasis (298 11th St). Oasis

Opened by legendary drag queens Heklina and D'Arcy Drollinger, this SoMa spot is home to nightly fun plus raucous events like drag reenactments of Sex and the City episodes and packed Drag Race viewing parties. In warm-weather months, head up to the roof deck.

298 11th Street

6. Twin Peaks Tavern

This Castro mainstay was the first gay bar to sport floor-to-ceiling windows that let patrons look out—and the world look in. That's no small feat considersing that when Mary Ellen Cunha and Peggy Forster took over Twin Peaks in 1972, LGBT people faced rampant discrimination and harassment. Moe than four decades on, the bar is still a great place to sip a martini and socialize with friends.

401 Castro Street

7. Wild Side West

Wild Side West
Wild Side West (424 Cortland Ave). Wild Side West

Named for a 1962 Barbara Stanwyck film, this (mostly) lesbian bar has been pouring drinks since that same year—first in Oakland, then North Beach and, since 1977, Bernal Heights. Be sure to come for the fun trivia night on Wednesday nights.

424 Cortland Avenue