AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Venture to Elkdom DATE: 10:11:00 PM ----- BODY:
Two co-workers talked me into discount drinks for happy hour at their local Elks Lodge, and soon I found myself entering the fraternity on Post street (that's also the Kensington Hotel) and touring the narrow staircases, arrested-development recreation rooms, and mediocre athletic facilities.

San Francisco Elks Lodge is #3 of almost three thousand lodges nationwide and the oldest continuously operating lodge, which explains the hotel business and the 1890's-era leather ceiling and dusty showcases. The pool room contains a row of high-backed shoeshine chairs and ancient pool cue cases. There were bleachers and a bar off the racquetball court, and from the roof we could see into the bleak black windows of the St .Francis Hotel, Harry Denton's Starlight Lounge bling, and up the steep incline of Mason Street.

Despite needing an update to the facilities, to the gender balance (open to women starting in 1995), and to the membership age (Heather claims the average age was brought down from 70 to 40), Elks is quaint, and welcoming.

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