Best Gay Bar - 2001
Red Grill & Whiskey Lounge
Finally, a civilized place in the Castro that isn't stuck in 1978 or in the mind-set that a gay bar means a dark, hidden place with black paint and chain-link fence on the walls, sticky floors, a constant disco beat, Judy Garland memorabilia, and an attitude of sex, sex, sex. The delightful Red Grill is owned by the same people who first brought some class to the neighborhood with the Bar on Castro in 1998. Greg Bronstein and Andre Normand's conversion of the old Castro Hibachi restaurant into an upscale bar, dining room, and lounge six months ago has been well received by those weary for a proper social setting in one of San Francisco's most famous -- but sadly stuck-in-the-bad-mustache-and-leather-pants-past -- neighborhoods. It is a place where gay and straight friends or co-workers can hang out. A place your mom will thoroughly enjoy. In the upstairs lounge, a fireplace roars as patrons take their drinks on comfy sofas and chairs. In the downstairs dining room, steak and seafood are served in rich mahogany and cherry wood surroundings. Whiskey Lounge adds much-needed class to the Castro, though not enough to counter the tired and garish environs of Harvey's, Midnight Sun, Detour, and the Castro's other woefully clichéd dinosaurs.