by Bob Barnwell
One of the most recognized establishments in our area is Marlena’s Bar and Nightclub. Gary McLain, also known as Marlena, has spent 21 years building the popularity of Marlena’s at 488 Hayes St.
Marlena loves living and owning a business in Hayes Valley. He lives upstairs and owns the green building that includes Flippers and four apartments.
Known for its Saturday night drag shows, Marlena’s is a big attraction for tourists, as well as members of the San Francisco community, to Hayes Valley.
Well-recogonized for his generosity and service to the community, Marlena has received awards and recognition from the city, other businesses and community organizations. At least once a week, usually on Sundays, Marlena’s is a fund raising venue for many non-profit groups including the AIDS Emergency Fund, the Castro Lions Club Drag-A-Thon, the AIDS Lifecycle, the Golden State Gay Rodeo Association, the Imperial Council, and the Council of the Grand Duke and Duchess. When the neighborhood bar becomes a fund raising show a good time is guaranteed for all. Last year many people celebrated at Marlena’s the Giants path to a World Championship.
Well-known for his Santa Claus collection display in December, Marlena’s showcases several other themes throughout the year. Marlena’s other collections include Disney keepsakes, objects celebrating the Coronation of the Emperor and Empress, and Valentines Day and Halloween decor. Stop by this July for the Harry Potter memorabilia display.
From a neighborhood bar to a drag show stage to a fund raising venue for non-profit groups, Marlena’s is one of the oldest and one of the most deserving of praise for a Hayes Valley establishment.