North Beach / Telegraph Hill, San Francisco.
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A diverse crowd flocks to North Beach throughout the week, whether for San Francisco’s official Little Italy or for the historic bars, famed independent shops, and the high concentration of strip joints.

Though most venues in the area trend on the pricier side, City Lights bookstore is much as it was during the 50s Beat era when Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg roamed the aisles, and continues to be the epicenter of leftist publishing to this day.

Following a bit of literature, hungry visitors craving authentic Italian fare head north on Columbus Avenue, where rows of densely packed tables line the sidewalk and most of the hosts could pass for extras in The Godfather.

After a meal, a wealth of options awaits to sate one’s nighttime appetite. Mellower types stop in for an after-dinner drink at Saloon, one of the oldest bars in town, while gritty Italian locals share a pint with casual young professionals at old-school dives, and newly launched mixology hotspots draw the hipster contingent with money to burn.

East on Broadway Street, nearly a dozen gentlemen’s clubs catering to a range of tastes and pocketbooks line the surrounding blocks, and giant signs peddling porn or other puerile interests light up the sidewalks.

Libidinous shoppers mingle awkwardly with dapper patrons making their way to the high-end lounges and trendy restaurants that also do brisk business here, while newly legal college kids can always be found over-indulging on massive Scorpion Bowls at Bamboo Hut.

Further north, Washington Square Park provides relief from the bustle of North Beach’s core, as does the famed Coit Tower in Pioneer Park a few blocks east, donated in 1929 by a cross-dressing volunteer firefighter to beautify the city skyline.

Whether for the rich history, the rich food and drink, or the women who get naked for money, North Beach has a little something for everyone.

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Where to Go in North Beach / Telegraph Hill

  • * Monroe Affluent / Ambient / Bar

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