Best Drag Bar - 2008
Marlena's - CLOSED
In a city where drag performers tend to favor the postmodern — where drag becomes arch-ironic "drag" — the Saturday night Follies at Marlena's offer a refreshingly unself-conscious alternative: old-school ladies sing Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline for a crowd that includes the pre-Stonewall set and the Hayes Valley gentrifiers. You'll never pay a cover, the drinks are potent, and the clientele isn't liable to give you any attitude. (Fresh young things from the Castro probably won't find a hot buck to take them home, but that's why God created Saturday nights at the Underground — aka Drunk and Horny — just a few blocks uphill.) As for the bar's famous seasonal decorations: Yes, they're completely insane. A holiday visit will treat you to hundreds of Santa dolls plastered on the walls, suggesting what might happen if Paul Lynde got his hands on a Franklin Mint catalog and a week's supply of meth.