As we move farther and farther into the internet age, the idea of a pornography store in general is beginning to sound just a bit anachronistic. Le Salon on Polk Street, though, was the pornography store to end all pornography stores. I’ve never seen anything comparable, before or since.
To start with, there were no booths. Le Salon was strictly a takeout operation. It was obvious that their mission was to concentrate on the actual videos rather than the, ummm, incidentals that come with the standard sodomite porn emporium. In other words, there was no shagging in the back room.
But man, did they concentrate on the video. This place was huge, they had everything, and it was all organized: by fetish, by studio, and even by director. They even had cross-reference cards. It really inspired the future librarian in me, and it also really allowed me to develop my collection of pirated porn on VHS.
Le Salon closed around 1997 or 1998 as I recall. Apparently, the owner of the building had a much purer vision of some proposed Lower Polk renaissance that didn’t include a big, geeky pornography store. I was reduced to using the rather lackluster outlets on Folsom Street near my apartment, and video smut was never quite the same for me again.