Civic Center / Tenderloin, San Francisco.
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Rumor has it the name “Tenderloin” harkens back to the turn of the century, when local cops who patrolled the area received enough hazard pay to afford a choice steak. The city’s first major brothel opened here in 1899, and the present day finds city officials still bemoaning the unmistakable crowds of streetwalkers, drug dealers, and homeless camps.

Looking past the obvious grunge, however, visitors will discover that the Tenderloin and adjoining Civic Center are also one of the last holdouts in San Francisco’s rapid-fire gentrification.

On the food front, a strong Southeast Asian contingent ensures access to a number of authentic, and very cheap, restaurants for hungry visitors on a budget, while dive lovers enjoy a wealth of dingy dens – one even devoted specifically to transvestites – especially along Geary and Larkin Streets.

Yuppies haven’t been kept entirely at bay, however, as the area has also witnessed a surge of higher-end mixology spots and a smattering of swanky lounges for the hipster and high-society set, while prominent live theaters straddle the neighborhood’s boundary with Downtown.

For those less interested in Broadway-caliber productions at the Geary or Curran, the historic Great American Music Hall is often described by music lovers as the greatest concert venue in the city, and the long-standing Mitchell Brothers Theatre consistently ranks as home to the prettiest female strippers in town.

Walking alone through the Tenderloin is still not recommended, especially at night, but sampling its myriad nightlife options certainly is.


Where to Go in Civic Center / Tenderloin

  • * Jones Ambient / Brunch / Cash Only
  • * Rye 30s / 40s / Blazers / Casual
  • * Tradition 30s / 40s / Ambient / Bar / Blazers

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