Over the weekend, a smattering of gays held a protest in front of Foreign Cinema to rally against the loss of LGBT spaces (read: bars, clubs) in San Francisco — specifically in South of Market. According to the group of protesters, someone affiliated with FC was involved with obtaining the Eagle from a group of gay business owners just before the contract was signed. And can you blame them? The venue is ideal and Foreign Cinema knows how to draw a crowd. Can you blame then? Anyway, it got us wondering: what are some of best, albeit dwindling, queer venues left in SoMa?
After all, SoMa used to be a hotbed of bathhouses, leather, and lube. Sure, a few ramaining area bars tip their hats to the days of yore. Kok hasn't lived up to expectations. The bar, formerly Chaps II, seemed just to have a name change, rebrand as it were, but changed nothing else and did little or no promotion outside of Gloss Magazine. They hoped the gays would come en masse, but that has not happened. (Instead of trying to block straight dudes from purchasing retail spaces — where would the gays get their beer! — we could work on making the few spaces we have better?) Same could be said for nearby Raven, a more upscale joint that we actually dig, though it could use a thicker crowd.
And with that, let's go down the list of the top 5 remaining gay venues in SoMa.
5. Blow Buddies
If you fancy anonymous fellatio and don't wear cologne, by golly this is the place for you. We're sticking it on the list since it's one of only two (?) remaining sex clubs in SoMa. And from what we're told, the place is big on large penises but not cool with gays who sport eau de toilette. (The latter infraction could get you banned for the night. Leave the Tom Ford Tuscan Leather at home.)
4. The Stud
Oh daisy, we haven't been to the Stud in eons. But from what our colleagues tell us, it's still just as crowded and crazy, at least on some weekends. Some Thing has taken the place of iconic club night Trannyshack. You can quench your high-concept drag appetite on Fridays.
3. Lone Star
Ah, Lone Star. A smashing watering hole with a private bathroom and a beautifully license plate-adorned patio space. The Harrison Street bar has taken up a lot of the Eagle slack, and their backyard is kind of nice, though not as nice as the Eagle's. They do Sunday beer busts with cheap pitchers, so it's a must for those who pine for the lazy, hazy days of joint-smoking and suds-swilling. (It's also one of those "ripe pit" places that straight-acting and -appearing gays seems to love so much. If free floating B.O. is your thing, the Lone Star on a Sunday is a sure thing.)
Beatbox is predominantly gay and new. It's a dance club, so that's nice. It also boats a gorgeous mural outside. That's also nice. A nice drop of gay on a street (11th) next to DNA Lounge, Bar Agricole, and your newly favorite babbling homeless guy.
Affectionately nicknamed the Powerblouse by your editor, the little bar that could on Folsom maintains a hardcore gay vibe with—what else?—screenings of hardcore gay porn on the TV screens. But make no mistake, fellas. This isn't just about sex. Everyone from doctors to coked-out twinks and Walnut Creek lawyers to tipsy otters call this place their home away from home. Top-notch DJs, cheep drinks, and a mellow vibe (depending on the night, that is) pair well with a seedy smoking area in the back, which, really, should be tagged by the San Francisco Historical Preservation Society. It's that noteworthy, folks. SoMa doesn't get anymore SoMa-ier than the Powerhouse.
Honorable mention: Hole in the Wall