The Café

Gay Bar / Gay Club
The Café Rows of cooing young studs always seem to congregate on the balcony smoking area that overlooks the entrance to The Café, so even before walking in, patrons have already been checked out. San Francisco United States 37.7628257 -122.4345757
3.47 9
The Café  - Gay Bar | Gay Club in San Francisco.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review Rows of cooing young studs always seem to congregate on the balcony smoking area that overlooks the entrance to The Café, so even before walking in, patrons have already been checked out. Once inside, the crowd of sporty... ... read full review

  • Metro:

    MUNI KT, L, M Lines: Metro Castro Station

  • Phone:

    415-834-5840

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    M–F 5pm–2am, Sa–Su 3pm–2am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth The Café Review

The Scene

Rows of cooing young studs always seem to congregate on the balcony smoking area that overlooks the entrance to The Café, so even before walking in, patrons have already been checked out.

Rows of cooing young studs always seem to congregate on the balcony smoking area that overlooks the entrance to The Café, so even before walking in, patrons have already been checked out.

Once inside, the crowd of sporty post-grads and casual young professionals fans out onto the large triangular dance floor, where barely-dressed men, and even some women, dance provocatively on a center stage to Top 40 hits.

Gyrating boys in skimpy underpants are the venue’s raison d'être – second only perhaps to drag shows – and the space could easily pass for an industrial frat house most nights, full of college students sporting Abercrombie button-downs and baseball caps as they gawk at the go-go dancers and each other.

LEDs on the steel ceiling account for most of the sparse décor, and flat-screens are known to showcase vintage porn for anyone not sufficiently inspired by the eye candy.

Two bars keep everyone sauced in the main room, while those looking for a change of scenery can step past the glass wall that separates the dance floor from the patio. On this side of the venue, they’ll find a third bar and an upper-level seating area where boisterous queens, burly dudes, and feisty pods of girls hoot and holler as they watch the action below or play a round of pool.

Simple and minimal, The Café proves that as long as there are strong drinks, good music, and an attractive crowd, there's no need to hire a decorator.

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Tip from Emma:

Every Sunday from 3–8pm, a cook barbecues hamburgers and hot dogs out on the smoking patio. At only $2–$4 each, it’s the perfect food for soaking up the booze.

  • Crowd

    Flirtatious groups of young jocks, girly girls, flamboyant drag queens, scantily-clad college students, masculine ladies, older bears, and adventurous partiers, 20s to mid-30s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    DJs spin Top 40, hip-hop, and house on Fridays and Saturdays. Theme nights include The GlamaZone live drag show on Sundays and Pan Dulce Latin Night on Thursdays. Go-go dancers perform Thursday–Sunday (afternoons only on Sunday). Flat-screens showcase everything from vintage porn to the Giants games. HD projector on one wall. Pool table on upper level.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Barbecue on Sundays during Happy Hour and free tacos during the “Delicious” event on third Saturdays; otherwise no food. Cash only. Happy Hour M–W 5pm–close, Th–F 5–9pm, Sa–Su 3–9pm.

  • Prices

    Cover charge $0–$8. Hot dogs and hamburgers $2–$4 (Sundays only). Beer $3.50–$6, wine $7, cocktails $6–$10, shots $5–$8. Coat check $3.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Sporty and sexy: Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirts, plaid button-downs, ripped jeans, cute skirts, tank tops, tennis shoes, baseball caps, shorts.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Mondays and Tuesdays for the long Happy Hour, Fridays for the popular BoyBar go-go night, and Sundays for The GlamaZone drag show.

  • Close By

    The Midnight Sun (4067 18th Street) is a long-running video bar that broadcasts TV shows and movies every day and frequently serves up 2-for-1 drink specials to a casual crowd of young and old gay men.

The Café User Reviews

Average rating:
Self-Consciously Trendy
Toby B. Oct 29, 2013
Always struck me as a place for those consumed with trying really hard to be trendy, and the trying shows. I was only ever here in the first place because acquaintances wanted to go and the effect on me was unsettling.
You'll like it
Gor G. Jun 8, 2013
I'm not sure how I feel about the Cafe. There were a few things I liked but there were a lot of things I didn't care for. I liked the dancers (for the most part) and thought they were fun, full of energy, and friendly. Most of the time dancers can be quite sterile and expressionless; I appreciate the enthusiasm and energy of the go-go boys for the most part. I also really liked the layout of Cafe. There's a lot of room to move around and (theoretically) enough room to dance. What I didn't like about Cafe was the population that attended. For some reason, Cafe seemed to be a club with the most pretentious and stuck up crowd. People weren't that friendly and told me to ditch my "boyfriend" because I could do better. Err, who the hell do you think you are? People stuff themselves onto the dance floor and literally just stand there. I like to dance and like a bit of room; I don't mind bumping into other people if they're dancing too but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect dancing at a club. In terms of music I found it to be "skillful." The DJ did an excellent job mixing songs and transitioning between them but they were too predictable and way too "top 40". There's other music in the world besides what's on the radio; try to explore it some more.
Best of Castro!
Maurice J. Apr 15, 2013
Definitely one of the best clubs on Castro for sure! The Cafe is a combination high energy music, great drinks and exciting entertainment! There is usually a special event going on but my friends and I think the best night to go is on Fridays for Boy Bar where you can find scantily clad go go dancers dancing on the stage in the middle of the dance floor or on the pool table upstairs. Some night there are drag shows hosted by hilarious drag queens and guest performances from the amazing cast of RuPaul's Drag Race. There are flat screen monitor all around the club displaying photos of club goers having a blast from past night and events. I cant really think of anything about The Cafe that I don't enjoy. The cover is pretty cheap, $5, drinks are reasonably priced and the crowd is fun, energetic and are always having a good time.
A must visit every time you're in San Francisco!
Cynthia R. Nov 29, 2012
The Café is an intoxicating combination of riotous fun, strong drinks and sweaty dancing, which is every clubbers dream come true. With delicious, scantily clad dancers center-staged and the hottest music blaring throughout the club, you are guaranteed to have a good time. You're sure to get the first class feel as you look out the massive windows on the second floor overlooking Market Street and Castro Street (not the mention all the people trying to get in!) or by watching a snapshot of you posing next to a group of newly found friends on the flatscreen. Plus, it definitely helps that they are surrounded by to die for restaurants like La Tortilla and Super Duper...yum!
Dancing at The Cafe
Rachel G. Nov 16, 2012
I love this place. A lot of my friends are go go dancers here and I always come to enjoy the Castro night life and watch my girls dance! This place can get really crazy on the weekends. To the point where there are lines out the door and down the street! But this place is well worth the wait to get in. One of the best gay nightclubs in the city. Much like Trigger, but I think that The Cafe is an upscale version of Trigger. Both are great, but I like The Cafe when I'm feeling classy and wanting to get drunk at the same time. Highly suggest this for you gay folks out there, but also you straight ones too!
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