East Bay Lesbian Bars

Because the gnomes that control google prefer that blogs have straight-ahead titles, I had to give this a straight-ahead title. Were that not the case, I would have called this post Women Unite in Armed Snuggle, a slogan found in the following wonderful link:

A brief history of East Bay lesbian bars.

I don't know much about bars because I spent my 20s clean and sober, and now that I'm not sober, I already feel too old to leave my house after 8 pm. But having read this piece by Barbara Hoke (and heavily illustrated, mainly with photos from the prolific Cathy Cade), I can say that I genuinely wish I spent more time in bars! Most specifically, I wish I could have gone to the Driftwood in Hayward to check out the former Roller Derby queens who ran the place. Seriously, I think bar history is important because bars are where we found each other even when we couldn't find each other anywhere else. Community is important and Stonewall should confirm that what happens in the bars has repercussions that are much bigger.

Related, I haven't watched it in a few years but I remember liking Last Call at Maude's about a long-lived San Francisco dyke bar. And for more on lesbian bar history, this Curve article discusses it, including references to a couple books on the topic.

I'll close with some silliness: popular culture's take on lesbian bars. I would have included Roseanne's lesbian bar kiss, but the only clip I could find on YouTube was too long. Instead I offer you these two:

Susie Bright uploaded her cameo in the bar scene in Bound (which I walked out of after the first 10 minutes when it was in the theater a dozen years ago).

And Pam Grier beats off the lesbians in the Foxy Brown bar fight scene (which I confess, I am too young to have seen in the theater):

Drink on gals!

1 comment:

ByTheBay said...

That bar timeline is amazing! So cool. Thanks for posting this.

I think the shift from a drinking-centered culture saved the lives of so many women - There is still such a huge problem with substance abuse in our community. I'm glad there are more ways for people to get healthy and sober if they choose to do so, and more places for young queers to get to know each other that don't require intoxication. That said... bar culture is such an important part of our history (and current reality, in some places) and I had so many formative experiences in gay and dyke bars. They were community centers before there were any Community Centers, and they still are in places where no other community institutions exist.

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