An insider's guide to the Castro
If you've lived in SF long enough, chances are you've gone out in every neighborhood, except for one: the Castro.
So, for all of you who've always been curious and/or love insane drink specials, we've searched far and wide for someone familiar enough to be our guide into the unknown food and drink (and other!) greatness of one of SF's most famous, if intimidating-for-outsiders, neighborhoods. And by "searched far and wide", we mean, "our SF editor is already that guy".
First off, a couple of tips1. If you are a girl, prepare to experience what every guy deals with on the day-to-day. Namely, bartenders are going to serve attractive dudes faster than you. Best advice? Be patient, or just find a cute guy to get drinks for you.
2. Don't worry, no one will randomly hit on you. But if they accidentally do, good for you! You go Glen Coco! Also, a simple "no thanks" will suffice.
Now, on to the fun stuff!
The main bars, and what to expectour own articles, or like, Sports Illustrated. They have food from a former Top Chef contestant, old-school bleachers lining the wall, suggestive puns, different sports on every TV, and a cocktail that involves a Muscle Milk that tastes delicious after a workout (trust me), while also helping you look super swoll, brah.
Party to watch out for: Thursdays after 10pm is "Gym Class", which involves free whiskey shots handed out in jock straps. So... be ready for that, and to tip for your free shots.
Happy hour alert: Amongst crazy $3 Fireball deals, they also run a two-for-one drink special Mon-Sat, from 3-8pm.
Happy hour alert: On Sundays, they have two-for-one frozen Sex on the Beaches. Plus, pinball!
Party to watch out for: Jock on Sundays is by far the most popular party here, and a definite must if it's nice outside and you can find your way onto the balcony.
Party to watch out for: Well, two-for-one cocktails Mon-Fri 'til 8:30pm.
Drink to grab: They're famous for their Irish coffees, so grab one of those.
Parties to watch out for: Shoop! is every second Saturday of the month, and plays only R&B hits from the '90s. So basically, everything you liked listening to in grammar/high school. There may or may not be go-go dancers (who are boys, sorry gents-who-like-ladies), but you're really here for Aaliyah, aren't you?or totally amazing donuts on Sundays), and gets a little more sweaty at night. There’s an upper mezzanine that can either be rented out for private-ish events, or watching everyone make fools of themselves on the dance floor.
Party to watch out for: Liquid brunch on Sundays is exactly that, along with some truly incredible donuts (how did you not click this link the first time??).
Recently renovated to add in front-facing windows (remember that part about gay bars not letting people see inside?), this bar is a relatively small rectangle and kinda the place to be for live drag performances.
Party to watch out for: Mahogany Mondays is a party every Monday that involves commentary on RuPaul's Drag Race (which is sorta like a drag version of America's Next Top Model) by Honey Mahogany, a former contestant/the only SF drag queen to ever be on the show (who was ROBBED because she wasn't enough drama for reality TV), punctuated by said live drag performances.
Food you should absolutely graboff-menu burger we're always telling you about.
kinda a big deal.
really good food, too (Top Chef chef, remember?). Seriously, try the fried chicken sandwich.
Definitely worth hitting up
What if we told you that you could get bottomless beer on Saturdays and Sundays for $10-$15, from about 4-7pm? Yup, to fundraise for intramural sports teams, different bars will host these miraculous events on the weekend. You’ll need to check their Facebook pages, but look at Hi Tops, Toad Hall, and Beaux.
Sing-alongs at The Castro TheatreIf you don't already know about these, you are missing out. They do sing-alongs to everything from Beauty and the Beast to Frozen. Okay, yeah, that's a lot of Disney, but... do you wanna build a snowmaaaaaaaaaaan?
Joe Starkey is Thrillist's San Francisco Editor, and tore his pants dropping it low at Badlands a couple of weeks ago. It's okay, you couldn't tell and they were too tight anyway. Or just tight enough. Find out more embarrassing things about his life on Twitter.