(credit: Pimpinellus/Creative Commons)

Step out in celebration of LGBT Pride in June. San Francisco’s 45th Annual Pride Celebration Parade is the nation’s largest, and the Castro is the historic center of gay San Francisco. The corner of 18th St. and Castro St. is its epicenter, where even the pedestrian street crossings are painted in the colors of the rainbow. These Castro bars and other heritage spots have supported the gay community over the decades.

Harvey’s
500 Castro St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 431-4278
www.harveyssf.com

On the site of the famous Elephant Walk bar established in 1974, Harvey’s will turn 20 next year. Smack dab in the heart of the Castro since 1996, the bar with an enviable name and location was rebuilt and renamed following a fire in 1988. Pay homage to the “Mayor of Castro Street,” San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk, when stepping in under the awning that bears his name at this pillar of the community. Happy hour is on weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Twin Peaks Tavern
401 Castro St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 864-9470
www.twinpeakstavern.com

Dubbed “The gateway to the Castro,” big picture windows at the landmark corner of Castro and Market let the sun shine in, both literally and metaphorically. That’s ‘landmark’ with a capital ‘L,’ since Twin Peaks Tavern, established 1935 and founded in 1972, was granted official historic landmark status by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in 2013. Perhaps best loved by a baby boomer crowd with a sprinkling of tourists, it’s an entirely suitable choice for raising a glass on the 45th anniversary of San Francisco Pride.

(credit: myspace.com/wildsidewest)

 

The Wild West Side
424 Cortland Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 647-3099
www.wildsidewest.com

In sunny Bernal Heights, one of the city’s best outdoor patio spaces with a sculpture-filled beer garden opens its doors seven days a week, 365 days a year from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Serving both the LGBT community and the neighborhood since 1962, The Wild West Side says, “Every night is a blend of lesbians, locals, eclectic art and neighborhood sports.” Afternoons in the garden, drink in hand, are a great place to relax.

Vesuvio Café (credit: Cindy Warner)

 

Vesuvio Cafe
255 Columbus Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 362 3370
www.vesuvio.com

Hand painted décor and stiff drinks pay tribute to the Beat generation at the corner of North Beach’s Jack Kerouac Alley. This 1948 saloon kitty-corner to City Lights booksellers has been “ground zero for pilgrims on the Beat trail” for 60 years. Don’t visit the website — the drinks menu was last updated in 2008 — but do visit Vesuvio, where the alleyway bears murals and poems and the walls are lined with old photos of neighborhood greats, like Kerouac, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti. With impossibly brilliant opening hours of 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., bring a friend or bring a book to the upstairs nook at this historic San Francisco gem.

Moby Dick
4049 18th St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 294-0731
www.mobydicksf.com

Cheers to Moby Dick, a Castro corner neighborhood bar that reflects the 80’s and frozen drinks have names like ‘sex on the beach.’ Known for friendly bartenders, enjoy playing pool or pinball machines in the back. Unmissable and ultimately Instagrammable is the 250-gallon salt water aquarium tank over the bar, a sure-fire conversation starter. On a Sunday afternoon in June, the bar’s own softball teams, Moby Dick C-Men and Moby Dick Whalers, may be celebrating another win.

Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she’s writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on Examiner.com.
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