Situated on Minna Street, the original Harlot drew it’s inspiration from local legend; San Francisco alleys named after famous Barbary Coast harlots. This latest incarnation of an SF institution delves deeper into the legend and the history of this special place at 46 Minna Street.
The Barbary Coast days were not only known for dance halls, concert saloons, seedy dive bars, and brothels but also violence and mayhem, mostly at the hands of male gangs such as the Regulators and the Sydney Ducks. To counter exploitation and abuse one such scrappy lady of the evening
organized her fellow harlots into their own gang that supported and helped each other, both clandestinely and openly, which drew the ire of those who enjoyed the status quo. This secret sisterhood needed it’s own gathering place away from the prying eyes of the police and gangs alike so they bought a printing & paper building south of Market, transforming the abandoned warehouse space at the back into their private hideout. This space became not only a safe respite from the world outside but a multi-cultural social space that soon hosted gatherings of like-minded sisters; artists & musicians, writers & poets, rebels & seditionaries. All watched over and led by the tough as nails original harlot, Minna.
Over the decades the space went through various iterations, serving as a leftist HQ & printing press, a sake bootlegging operation & speakeasy during prohibition, post-war illegal jazz club, even a pirate radio station from the Summer of Love through Punk and Hip-hop eras. But throughout
the space’s many lives it remained a vital, dynamic gathering place. It’s leadership passed from one female entrepreneur to another, carrying on it’s traditions and hospitality to the creative underground. Now it’s colorful past is celebrated and reimagined as a future secret clubhouse inviting those
creators & dreamers lucky enough to discover it.
Welcome to MADARAE.