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Read Text Only: Pride Issue
NIGHTLIFE: Moby Dick


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The dreams of sophomoric joke writers and knee-slapping frat boys everywhere are easily fulfilled once you ask them to suck down a drink at Moby Dick. No need to even mention that this establishment claims its moniker from the symbol-laden classic by Herman Melville, you can probably just stop short of mentioning the phrase “white sperm whale.” but jokes about penis names aside, this watering hole on the fringe of the gay ghetto is really quite a catch. Since 1979, Moby Dick has satisfied its loyal patrons and newcomers alike with strong drinks, pinball machines, billiards and just a dash of class.
On your average sunny afternoon, the atmosphere is pleasantly casual, so leave that three-piece Armani suit at home. Make sure to grab a stool at the bar for a view of the Castro creatures that glide up and down 18th Street during the day, but at night, take in the soft blue glow of one of Moby Dick’s most iconic accoutrements, a whale-sized saltwater aquarium. Holding no less than 100 gallons of salt water, exotic fish and corals, the Moby Dick aquarium gives the cozy saloon a peaceful nautical backdrop and at the very least a unique conversation starter with that boy across the bar.
The building that houses Moby Dick and its crew is hardly seaworthy, but the beautifully maintained redwood construction, circa 1880, gives the Castro patron a welcome change from the metal and plaster aesthetic of its neighbors. If you are a fan of a friendly game of pool or a drunken game of pinball, don’t miss the quarter-fueled entertainment in rear, but don’t forget to grab a drink first. Uncomplicated and down to earth, the azure-lit bar, with its pleasantly attentive bartenders, serves up almost all of your favorite social lubricants and at wallet-friendly prices. So keep in mind that Moby Dick is not just some phallic punch line, it’s also a charming Castro classic, perfect for happy hours or just to watch the fish swim by.

Visit Moby Dick
4049 18th Street, San Francisco CA