Marlena’s: Best Bar in Hayes Valley by Far

Every time I go to this bar, I swear there is a drag show going on. Marlena’s in Hayes Valley is where it is at. I used to always go to Place Pigalle, since it was the closest dive bar to my house, but it has recently been closed due to, “an illegal filming of a porn in the back room – during business hours,” according to the new owner. Whatever he said, because I’ve been by again recently – and it was closed again!

Fuck that place, Marlena’s is way better and doesn’t need to film anything illegal – because there is always some kind of “legal” show going on or something along those lines wear skirt hems are extremely high and tops are extremely low-cut. When there are  trannies taller than me wearing five-inch heels – I am so down.

The other day, I cruised in on a Sunday afternoon, and was immediately welcomed by this huge black guy holding a baby doll. “Meet my daughter, Chlamydia Champagne!” he bursted out with laughter. He even bought me a beer and let me hold his “baby.” Sold. I love this place.

Pool tables, cheap drinks, a smoking patio and a fun, gay crowd. I can’t even count the number of pictures I have snapped with hot drag queens wearing tiny dresses I would never even fit into! And girls, don’t worry – there are always a few cute straight guys lingering around. They obviously know where to find the hottest chicks…with or without an Adam’s apple!

488 Hayes Street
[Hayes Valley]

photo courtesy of

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About the author

Heidi Smith - The Ultimate Scavenger

Originally from San Diego, Heidi migrated north to study journalism at SFSU and interned for the SF Bay Guardian writing music stuff. She later embarked on a study-abroad program in both Denmark and Holland, and basically never came home. For six long years, she froze her ass off in Oslo, Norway, pretending to be a viking princess, trying to figure out how to survive in the most expensive city in the world. The other two years were spent frolicking on the beach in Spain - sipping on sangria in between being tossed around Europe working as a stressed-out journalist. Heidi currently works at for a non-profit cultural exchange program, helping others experience life from a different perspective. She is thrilled to be back in SF, magnetizing the obscure, and scavenging the city for fun, free things to do.

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