Slinging burgers till 4am since any San Franciscan can remember, Grubstake is among Polk Gulch's original LGBT-owned businesses. (Courtesy of @grubstakesf)

Before the Castro, Polk Gulch was San Francisco's Gayborhood

Before the Castro became the gay mecca for the entire United States, Polk Gulch, centered around Polk Street, was the hub for the LGBT community.

Sure, gay bars quietly existed in other parts of the city—in the Tenderloin and North Beach—but Polk Gulch was the first neighborhood where gay-owned daytime establishments, such as restaurants and clothing stores, opened and catered directly to the LGBT community.

Take a twirl through Polk Gulch during the 1960s and '70s, its heyday as the epicenter of San Francisco's LGBT world.

Christmas on Polk Strasse


(via Preserving LGBT Historic Sites in California/Facebook)

A full-page ad in the December 1968 issue of Vector magazine promoted gay-owned businesses that were located on Polk Street, which was sometimes called Polk Strasse (for street, in German). See something you recognize? That's right, the much-beloved late-night diner and diva hangout Grubstake still remains today.