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

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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.

'Life' Features The Jumpin' Frog

(via Life/OutHistory.org)

A now-famous June 1964 article in Life magazine titled "Homosexuality in America" turned the spotlight on San Francisco, the nation's gay capital. In the photo above, the story also captured the nightlife at Polk Street gay bar The Jumping Frog, once located at Polk and Broadway Streets.

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