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1957-1969 The Jazz Workshop

Monroe is located in the historic Jazz Workshop building where many legends performed and recorded live albums; Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk, and Johnny Coltrane to name a few. In 1959 while performing a live set, comedian Lenny Bruce was famously arrested onstage by SFPD for public indecency, after an offended audience member called in a complaint about his raunchy language.

The City of San Francisco installed a historical marker on the property in 2018.


1948-1957 Mona's Candlelight

Mona's Candlelight opened in 1948 becoming the first openly lesbian club. Taking advantage of San Francisco's liberal attitude, and the end of prohibition, Mona's was described as a "bohemian" club, which was a coded way of describing it as sexually unconventional. Mona's marketed itself as a place "where girls can be boys" and featured female wait staff and entertainers dressed in tuxedos.

Original blue neon sign from Mona's Candlelight and a preserved cocktail napkin

Credit: San Francisco Public Library James Hormel Archives