Dilettante 31: Retro club nights

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It feels really good to spit fire, especially in print, at a corporation clumsily trying to target-market your generation with pablum.

This Polly Esther’s nightclub ultimately failed, in its chain locations in San Francisco and nine other cities. Let that be a lesson: Don’t ever try to make an in-real-life mainstream radio station for people to drink at like it’s the playground section of a McDonald’s. They won’t like it.

welcome back … to a place you never wanted to go back to

This column entry I wrote in 1998 goes on to list quite the fun sampling of a few actual retro dance nights throughout the City that were NOT the premiering chain-restaurant-ass dance club who tried to steal their audiences with mall-style tactics.

It’s sort of hard to look back now in amazement at all the cheap and gritty entertainment available to San Franciscans before the dot-com hordes and major economic inequality trampled everything. But it’s nice to know we all banded together to stay away from places like Polly Esther’s.


Click through to read “You’ll Dance To Anything,” originally published in the SF Bay Guardian on November 17, 1998.

This is the 31st entry in my “twenty years ago this week” project from when I was a nightlife columnist at the Bay Guardian, once the country’s largest family-owned weekly newspaper. These “Dilettante” clips, compiled on my portfolio page, create a serial portrait of San Francisco culture at the turn of the century (1997-2001).

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