While San Francisco restaurateurs are breathing a sigh of relief as they begin the slow process of reopening during the coronavirus pandemic, still-shuttered nightlife venues continue to languish in an uncomfortable, ambiguous limbo.
It's an especially tough blow for the City's LGBTQ bars and clubs, which would ordinarily be packed to their glittered gills during Pride Month. This year, there will be no spilling drinks while dancing at Oasis, drag numbers at Lookout, or sub-$5 drinks at Aunt Charlie's Lounge.
While we wait and see and hope that all our favorite gay bars will again see the light of day, we've gathered links to their GoFundMe pages, online acts, and more so we can all show our support for SF's rich queer nightlife scene during Pride.
The SF Eagle
Leather daddies, motorcycle mommas, bears, cubs, pups, and otters have long come together at this mainstay of the recently minted Leather District.
While the venue remains shuttered, you can help the SF Eagle Family Fund reach its $20,000 fundraising goal; all proceeds directly support the furloughed staff. Also look out for the grand opening of Eagle Plaza, the first public park in SF dedicated to the leather community, once SIP is lifted. // 398 12th St. (SoMa), thesfeagle.com
Opened by drag legends Heklina and D'Arcy Drollinger on New Years Day in 2015, Oasis is both newer to the scene and also a landmark gay nightclub and performance venue thanks to its well-known local and international headliners (and reasonably priced drinks).
To help keep Oasis afloat until the venue can reopen, devotees can sends funds via Venmo. You can also watch archival Oasis performances on YouTube to relive the glory days until they open again. // 298 11th St. (SoMa), sfoasis.com
Aunt Charlies Lounge
A last bastion of the Tenderloin's heyday as the City's OG gayborhood before the Castro came to be, Aunt Charlies—beloved for its drag shows, which attracted lovers of the art form from all walks of life—had a pandemic-era scare when it started running out of money this summer.
A GoFundMe campaign brought in enough donations (just over $100,000) to cover the bar's overhead until around August 1, but with no re-opening in sight, they still need our help. Head over to GoFundMe and give what you can.
// 133 Turk St. (Tenderloin), auntcharlieslounge.com
This corner bar has been one of the best spots for people-watching (and $1 second drinks) in the Castro for over 25 years. During shelter in place, The Edge is among the many local businesses taking its game virtual—tune in to their Twitch channel for musical numbers and bouts of boozy creativity and beards.
Beaux and Midnight Sun
Sister bars Beaux and Midnight Sun are known for a vivacious, sexual atmosphere and affordable mixed drinks, respectively, and like the community they serve, they've persisted and remain afloat so far.
Those who wish to help float Beaux's staff through these times can give to the Beaux Employee Emergency Relief and Tip Fund. Donations for Midnight Sun employees can be sent via the Virtual Happy Hour - Midnight Sun Staff Support GoFundMe page.
This upstairs bar on Market Street is admittedly fairing better than most of its peers in the queer nightlife space given its ability to serve food (and drink) for takeout. But until the Lookout can reopen its beloved balcony and party space for people-watching, drag shows, and community events, many of its staff remain off duty and could use your help.
If you purchase a gift card, 50 percent of the proceeds will go directly to the staff. And, of course, if you order takeout, now is the time to tip big.
// 3600 16th St. (Castro), lookoutsf.com
While The Stud announced the closing of its 30-year-old Ninth Street venue a few weeks back, the collective who own the space say it will come back in a new location, better than ever before.
Keep The Stud alive by tuning in to its weekly Drag Alive performances on Twitch and biweekly podcast on Patreon. The Stud Bar Stabilization Fund aims to raise $500,000 for startup and build-out of a new space. // More info on studsf.com.
You can also support for the Queer Nightlife Fund, a nonprofit set up by prominent local personages, including Juanita More! and Race Bannon, to help these very nightlife workers stay solvent during this dystopian time.