January 2018

1028 Market Street, in the mid-Market/Tenderloin neighborhood, is a 1907 building that is going to be redeveloped to build a much taller building including housing. It was probably one of the locations of early queer-friendly bars and nightclubs in the Tenderloin. The second floor was also formerly home to Hollywood Billiards, which closed after a shooting in 2003. For the past few years, while waiting for development approval, the developers established a temporary food court and event space called The Hall.

Crystal Bowl and Keno’s Forty Seven Club

Crystal Bowl 1946, from the SF Public LibraryThe Environmental Impact Report for the building includes some details:

"Against the backdrop of the post-WWII era in the Tenderloin neighborhood, the 1028 Market Street building housed two known LGBTQ-friendly establishments: the Crystal Bowl, a cocktail lounge bar located in the 1032 Market Street storefront from circa 1945 to 1956, and Keno’s Forty Seven Club, a tavern bar, located in the 47 Golden Gate Avenue storefront from circa 1953 to 1956. Both of these establishments are cross-referenced in the Gay Inc. SF Business Directory, from the San Francisco History Center. These businesses were part of the neighborhood’s interconnected community of restaurants, bars, bathhouses, nightclubs, adult movie theatres, and other LGBTQ-friendly businesses supported by Tenderloin residents and visitors to the area."

"As documented in SF Chronicle and Examiner articles in the 1950s, the Crystal Bowl experienced harassment, specifically for violations of employment of b-girls and of stocking of empty bottles...In November of 1955, it was reported that the State Liquor Director ordered a 30-day suspension of Crystal Bowl’s liquor license for employing b-girls." (A book about San Francisco also says: "In July of 1954, the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board (AFDCB) joined forces with the SFPD and moved against five San Francisco taverns "suspected of being frequented by sex deviates"", including the Crystal Bowl.)

"In the oral history collection of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) Archives, recollections with men who resided in the Tenderloin during the early 1950s reference Keno’s Forty Seven Club, along with references/retellings about dozens of other bars, taverns, nightclubs. Keno’s was noted as quite popular in the Tenderloin, especially as it was close to other downtown bars."

Timeline of businesses

From page 56 of Pig 'n Whistle by Veronica GelakoskaThis is also from the Environmental Impact Report:

  • Crystal Bowl (c.1945-1956)
  • Keno’s Forty Seven Club (c.1953-1956)
  • 1028 Billiards (1958)
  • Mr. T’s Steakhouse (1957)
  • Karrel Korn (1966)
  • Danny’s (sometimes written as Dani’s) Restaurant (1970s)
  • Bijoux Theater (1953-c.1990)
  • Regal Theater (1940-c.1990)

Sometime before that, it was the Pig 'N Whistle, with this soda fountain built in 1931.

Architectural remnants

Photos from a visit to the building in December 2017:

Terrazzo on the ground floor, possibly the same area as the floor in the Pig 'N Whistle photoTiles on the wall in the staircase going down to the basement's former bathroomsUpstairs in the old Hollywood Billiards space: cubbyholes with combination locks (postal mailbox style) for pool cuesTiles on the wall in the basement bathroom areaHollywood Billiards signSigns for L.A. Gals and The Hall