Where can I meet/hang-out/make merry with other young queers in San Francisco?
June 20, 2012 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Where can I meet/hang-out/make merry with other young queers in San Francisco?

So I'm a southerner and I recently came-out to some of my friends and have been becoming more comfortable with my sexuality, yay hooray etc. For other reasons entirely, I've found myself spending the next week in San Francisco, which my furtive watching of Gus van Sant movies, abiding love of the Beat movement, and consuming of queer histories built up to me as an amazing Gay Mecca. I was pretty elated about the chance to visit. The Castro was so cool during the daytime, unlike anything i'd ever experienced, and I picked up some amazing books. HOWEVER, at night I nervously ventured into some gay bars (my firsts. ever.) and was really intimidated and also felt massively young. MASSIVELY.

Now I have no problems at all with older gay men, and i actually think they're awesome and they give me hope and are great conversation. However, I was really hoping to, for once, find a place where I could be with others like me. But like me as I am now, not the iteration down the line where I'm suspicious of new musical movements and buy paint swatches. I just want to approximate the feeling my straight friends get at every youngish bar and cafe and club i've ever been too.

More information, since this is anonymous: I'm male. Stylewise, I fall somewhere on the hipster spectrum because I like indie music (and rap and electronica!), books, and would be blind without my large glasses. I am for all intents and purposes of legal drinking age, and I'm pretty dorky but I can get along anywhere. I can be very political when needed, so radical stuff/places is a plus, not a minus. But not at all a requirement. I would love a bar scene (drinking! whoo!), but i could force myself to do a club and I brought tons of books so I could read in cafes. Thats a thing, right?

Potential follow-up: So, if these places exist where I can meet other young LGBTers in a social setting, I'm a total neophyte at all this Meeting-People-and-Maybe-Even-Flirting business. I'm assuming its different than flirting with girls, but any tips? Is it super weird and desperate to just walk up to someone and say hi? Will all conversation with cute guys come off as coming on? What if I just wanna be friendly? And the bandana thing is totally of the past right? Any signals I should either give or be wary of? If I'm reading, should I make sure its a gayish book (I have some Ginsberg and Whitman, and I have Rechy's City of the Night or Hornito by Albo if I should be super obvious) or would it be fine if I brought the Kim Stanley Robinson I'm reading. Cuz it's pretty good...

Thanks for all your help! I'm sorry if this question is super lame, I'm just like very nervous and overwhelmed but also excited. Any advice, really any, is the best.
posted by anonymous to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This doesn't really answer your question, but I just wanted to alert you, at the risk of stating the obvious, that this weekend is PRIDE in SF! There's going to be a ton of young people, gay and straight, celebrating and it's going to extremely easy to meet new people. Everyone out will be extremely open and partying on the streets. It's my favorite event of the year and I'm not even gay.
posted by ad4pt at 10:32 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not a lame question. I refer to San Francisco as "The Mothership" - as you have noted it is the place from which all gays originate, and the place to which they all eventually return. It keeps stealing my friends. So how to go about meeting folks, on a short timeline:

Step 1: Calm down.

Step 2: Go to a cafe or a coffee shop.

Step 3: Survey the ubiquitous corkboard, plastered with event fliers.

Step 4: Decide what looks like fun.

Step 5: Go to the event.

P.S. Read what you want to read, when and where you want to read it. You don't have to be reading anything in particular. There is no secret book code. There is also no cabal.

P.P.S. Flirting is the same with boys or girls. You flirt with people (and sometimes danger) but never genitalia or genders. Just be yourself. It is okay to be friendly. The world needs some more friendly people. But if people aren't receptive, just remember that it isn't personal.

P.P.P.S Check out Meetup. Or CouchSurfing. There may be a group that is appropriate for you. I see that there is a Queer Pub Trivia group in SF. That might be right up your alley, and those tend to be great for a casual meety-greety type event where you don't know anyone.

posted by jph at 10:44 AM on June 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

The California Academy of Science's Nightlife event this Thursday evening is a special pride event. Queer and geeky! And we've had multiple MeFi meetups at Nightlife in the past.

These are all facebook links, for which I apologize, but they should be visible to anyone. Here are a number of events and clubs and festivals this weekend put on by various queer hipster (and non-hipster) friends.

Old French Hole at the Knockout

Hard French




Queer Mutiny

Some Thing

This week is also the film festival. Pick a few movies to go to.

Have fun! It's a great time to be here and be queer.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:46 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

For sure, go to PRIDE, you'll make a ton of friends.

In the Castro I used to haunt The Midnight Sun. The crowd may be older there, (we used to be young, honest) it's off of Castro on 18th. Across the street is the Bear Starbucks, but go for coffee, you never know.

I openly laughed when I read your opening line, shit BEING in San Francisco is enough. You'll meet folks at work, in restaurants, at the library, on the bus, pretty much everywhere.

Go to Pacific and Polk and walk around. Great walking neighborhood with shops and cafes. Poke in the bookstore there, have a coffee at one of the 20 places, pet someone's dog. Be open to meeting anyone, anywhere, you'll click.

Join clubs go to events, enjoy the fuck out of yourself and remember to wrap that rascal!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:47 AM on June 20, 2012

came in to suggest hard french & some thing, also hella gay in oakland
posted by kelseyq at 10:52 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you'll forgive a little bit of a self link, I work for Equality California, and we're looking for folks to volunteer to both march and work the booth for us (we're working to end so-called conversion "therapy"). Our volunteers tend to be young, queer and engaged, and (if they're anything like the ones we had in LA), quite willing to get a drink with you, and Shaun, one of our communication dudes up in SF is a total fucking hipster.
posted by klangklangston at 10:58 AM on June 20, 2012 [4 favorites]

Well, if you want to march in the parade with a political contingent, memail me and you can come hang with my group.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:24 AM on June 20, 2012

I don't live in SF, but am in the middle of planning a trip there, and my friends insisted that I be around for a Stay Gold dance party. It might be a bit more queer lady oriented, but I don't know for sure. Plus, their facebook page also has links to lots of other events.
posted by dizziest at 12:21 PM on June 20, 2012

There's also the National Queer Arts Festival through the end of June. Various artsy events that probably skew a bit younger than the bar crowd you saw.
posted by needs more cowbell at 3:21 PM on June 20, 2012

Get on Grindr or Scruff. (They're not just for sex, I promise.) Chat a dude up, meet him out for a drink, take things from there.
posted by roger ackroyd at 6:49 PM on June 20, 2012

I wonder if any of the events or resources at the LGBT Center would be of any interest?


On Tuesday the 26th there's a Youth Meal Night - dinner and a movie! Plus board games!

Also, seconding the film festival.

Also, seconding jph: relax. Have fun. Be yourself. San Francisco IS a TOTALLY great place.

Welcome! Enjoy your visit!
posted by kristi at 10:22 AM on June 22, 2012

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