Most consider our Tenderloin neighborhood to be a vast black hole of no-go in downtown San Francisco.
Truth be told, there are certainly a couple of blocks full of downright nasty that neither you nor I should make a habit of frequenting. But beyond those unfortunate social potholes, the Tenderloin is a rich neighborhood with a great wealth of small areas each with their own character.
Since The Bold Italic popularized the term “microhood,” it's only fitting to break down the Tenderloin by the sum of its parts. So, presented here is the “Tenderloin Microhoods Map.” While some of it is just for fun, a whole lot of it is most definitely true. Read up and come on down and grab a drink in The Gimlet! There’s sure to be some tasty dining in Delicious Fields afterward.
Woe be the transient tourists who live in these hotels during their brief stays in San Francisco. They often spend their days in Union Square or the official tourist district above North Beach. They're easy to spot because they're dressed poorly for SF’s inclement weather and they actually wait in line for the cable car.
A common bathing spot for those "on the move" in the neighborhood as well as being a ginormous birdbath/toilet for the agro seagulls that hang out around here (watch your bagels). Why the stretches pointing to Leavenworth and up Market? If you've ever been around the spray drift of the fountain, you know why.
The Post Up
An area full of well-established restaurants, shops, and a couple of cafés that serve drinks. It’s a fun place to roll if you're looking for trees and to sell parklet-related construction materials. Beware of speeding cyclists and residents in the depths of morning coffee withdrawal.
The city's Vietnamese center. The "official" borders are much smaller – anyone who has been there knows that Vietnamese restaurants and businesses spread far and wide like that spicy paste on a banh mi sandwich.
With a number of mellow bars and a couple of restaurants in it, the Whoa-Man is a great place to hang out. It's also a great place to find any variety of alternative "ladies" of the night. Or even during the day as shown by DPW workers getting services performed on Hemlock Alley. It's advised to look under the hood prior to taking a drive.
These are some of the most flavorful blocks you'll ever find in the Tenderloin and are also referred to as part of the TandooriLoin from time to time. Those in the know refer to it as "opening Christmas in your mouth" and not in a Whoa-Man District kind of way.
The Naked Hood
If you like the naked ladies (who doesn't), then this is the place for you with the two main strip clubs in the neighborhood bracketing in one of the few kids parks in the neighborhood in a "class sandwich."
Chocked full of delicious and nutritious bars from one end to the other and wrapped in a soothing blanket of Delicious Fields. If you want a cocktail that doesn’t reek of well swill, you go to the Tenderloin's Gimlet.
The lead-in to Nob Hill, this area is mostly residential and lacks a great deal of the hustle and bustle of Lower Loin, but it sports some larger dwellings, high-end restaurants, refined street art, and random bouts of NIMBYism.
The absolute best place to pick up your OCs and these days, apparently, OPs. Ironically, there is also a low-income drug dispensary here – go figure.
With the Bohemian Club, Olympic Club, and the schmancy Le Colonial, this high rollers area of the Tenderloin is not for posers. Its main export: valet parking. Turn offs: pedestrians.
A street market at Hyde and Turk that sloshes around to various sides of the streets depending on the sun and flow of traffic. A great place to find half a bottle of shampoo, your favorite VHS tapes (Predator just isn’t the same on DVD) or "bargain" bicycles.