I finally went to the Tenderloin Museum and was shocked at how exciting the Tenderloin used to be. It was a real education to discover how many famous boxers, musicians and writers lived there, trained there or performed there. The museum is small, but after seeing photos of yesteryear, playing with a really old pin ball machine, and watching the multimedia displays, I decided it was something I’d put off too long. I have a new respect for this part of San Francisco and highly recommend a trek up there to see this cute little museum.
Being steps away from Union Square, the Tenderloin used to provide simple, affordable places to live, mostly for people working in department stores and other shops and restaurants close by. The area is still filled with SROs (single resident occupant) apartments with no kitchen and baths down the hall. Generally, they were designed for all men or all women. Since the people were earning modest incomes, there were a lot of inexpensive cafes and the famous Compton’s Cafeteria. More info at their website: http://www.tenderloinmuseum.org
After the museum closed, I spotted a brand new restaurant and jazz club across the street – The Black Cat. We went for a drink and a snack, met the owner and took a look at the jazz club downstairs. This place is beautiful and I’m sure will be a great little hot spot to know about. If you’re uneasy about walking up to Eddy and Leavenworth, grab a cab, Uber or Lyft. I’d walk. It’s colorfully gritty, but safe. Check out their website for details: http://blackcatsf.com