The Secret City

Did You Know About San Francisco’s Secret Underground Tunnels Gay Men Used To Escape Raids?

UPDATE: Developers say secret tunnels under San Francisco gay bars are a myth


This is truly amazing, and we had no earthly idea.

A fascinating story published this week in 48 Hills sheds light on a labyrinthine network of underground tunnels beneath San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

Related: 10 Wild Milestones In The Twisted History Of San Francisco’s Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence

Connected to watering holes from the ’30s and ’40s like The Old Crow, The Silver Rail, The Pirates Den, and the College Inn, the tunnels were used by gay men to escape police raids back in the day. (For true Goonies realness, there’s even Prohibition-era bottles lying in disused corners of the tunnel.)

Sadly, The Planning Commission is considering demolishing the tunnels to make way for a monstrous hotel and housing project.

Compton’s Cafeteria, fondly dubbed “the Stonewall of the West” because of drag queens’ ongoing battles with police raids, also runs the risk of being torn down. Community activists are vying to turn the area into a historic district while the project moves forward. Impossible to say what happens next.

Related: Why San Francisco Is The World’s Gay Mecca

The excellent article, worth reading in its entirely, can be seen here.

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