SUPER EGO: The Republic, Public Works, Holy Cow, Bloom's Saloon, Mercury Soul, Fag Fridays, Gaslamp Killer, and more nightlife debauchery
The city has its fair share of microclimates, microbreweries, microlocal eateries, and even microtrannies. Also: micronightlife. The wobbly stilettos of North Beach on Fridays, the indie electro tang of Mondays in the Castro (served especially kinky at DJ Richie Panic and Key&Kite's packed "nutter-butter" Wanted weekly — Mondays, 9 pm, free, QBar, 456 Castro, www.sfwanted.com), the late night surf-rock bar crawls out near Ocean Beach ... It's easy to stereotype some of our heirloom hotspots — or get locked into them — but, um, you're the one who brings the party, so spread it around a tad.
Here are some off-the-blackout-path watering holes I've recently had the pleasure of stumbling out of, none too pricey: The Republic (3213 Scott, SF. www.republicsf.com) in the Marina is, yes, a fancy sports bar, but it's a chill place to meet friends and mingle with a shockingly snob-free and diverse crowd. Glittery lodge Swank (488 Presidio, SF. 415-346-7431) in Laurel Heights didn't destroy my credit rating, and its cozy fireplace is perfect for the rainy nights ahead. Cole Valley's EOS (901 Cole, SF. www.eossf.com) is perf for sipping a spot of primo vino and N Judah people-watching. Bloom's Saloon (1318 18th St., SF. 415- 552-6707) in Potrero Hill still has the best beer-guzzling view of the city, even if it recently had to rope off the patio due to complaints, boo. And tony new SoMa resto Heaven's Dog (1148 Mission, SF., www.heavensdog.com) has a gangbusters bar, with nom-nom pre-Prohibition concoctions like the gingered Monk Buck and kicky Daisy de Santiago, surely some Chilean child's drag handle.
If you missed the bonkers opening weeks of the civic-minded Public Works (161 Erie, SF. www.publicsf.com), you'll soon be hooked by the late-night club and gallery's crazy-canny programming, like the one-off return of gloriously debaucherous shindig Fag Fridays (Fri/15, 9 p.m.-4 a.m., $10), with DJs David Harness, Rolo, and Juanita More and the future dub power of Surefire Sound (Sat/16, 9 p.m.-4 a.m., $15), with Bristol steppers Pinch and Gemmy. Public Works was launched by a who's who of local nightlife talent, including longtime invisible hand of the SF club scene Pete Glikshtern, who's also behind the neato new Jones (620 Jones, SF. www.620-jones.com), which rightly focuses on its enormous outdoor terrace and downtown-glamour feel.
One of the zazzliest transformations on the scene, however, has to be that of 11th Street Corridor mainstay Holy Cow (1535 Folsom, SF. www.theholycow.com) which just got a knockout steampunky makeover by artist Dara Young. Fear not, "woo!" girls and bro-bros, your chartered party limos will still drop you off to top-40 bliss Thursday through Saturday. But owner Bill Herrmann is expanding the Cow's party palate, by giving the homo-futurist Honey Soundsystem's weekly Honey Sundays (Sundays, 9 p.m., $3) a new home, now that Paradise Lounge has bit the dust. (Holy Cow was the original site of the Stud in the 1960s, so edgy queer nightlife comes full circle.) And there are more pleasant shocks on the way. Herrmann's a guy I can't help but adore — a slick Burner with a head-turning look, he genuinely enjoys hosting parties, whether the clientele is gelled-up meatmarketeers or post-techno fairies. Expanding definitions!