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Weird Art in Bars: Gold Dust Lounge

It’s not every day you find the business end of a pants-less cherub hovering over your gin and tonic. But if this is an experience you simply must add to your bar repertoire (really, you must), head to Gold Dust Lounge. Founded in 1933, this San Francisco institution seems to have handily avoided changing anything since. It still boasts the decor of a gold rush-era bordello, complete with worn red velvet, chipped gilt, and cheap booze.


Botticelli-esque angels cavort on the ceiling while sports TV flickers above a still-life of a banjo. (Fun fact: said nude ceiling cherubs appeared in the opening scene of Hitchcock’s The Birds.) Paintings of women in various stages of undress march stolidly around the room, some in fluffy hats, some shielded by nothing but a bawdy glint in their eye.
Gold Dust Lounge, 247 Powell St. (415) 397-1695.