lone star saloon
bear Bar USA
The Lone Star Saloon first opened its doors in 1989 on the corner of Howard and 7th. At first it was a bar for old gay hippies. We didn’t even have a liquor license. Just beer and wine — oh yeh, and sake, fresh from the microwave. They were humble beginnings indeed but at a time when HIV/AIDS was ravaging our community it was more about a sense of place than anything else. And in general, the bar’s founder, Rick Redewell, was helping to foster an atmosphere that appealed to working class men who felt more at home in SOMA than the Castro.
On October 17, 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck. The bar, only 6 months old, was rendered unsafe and had to be demolished. Like a proverbial phoenix it rose up at its current location at 1354 Harrison St. The space, with its ample main room, nooks, crannies, and soon-to-be legendary patio, appealed to the biker crowd that previously made The Ambush — the notorious leather bar once located directly across the street — their HQ. The leather/biker crowd soon began to merge with the bear scene, which was gaining its momentum as the Lone Star settled into its permanent home. Needless to say, the fringe scenes fit together seamlessly even as the bear movement become the bar’s calling card.
Then along came the internet. With some cutting edge (at the time) social uses for it, the bar gained a reputation around the world. If you saw someone wearing a Lone Star t-shirt in London, Sydney or Tokyo you knew what it meant. It was like a secret club. And what did it mean? Many things to many people: Older likes small, big likes big, small likes furry, and on and on. But above all it meant you were proud to identify as a bear.
The Lone Star has been open for business and serving bears ever since. It is fair to say the bar has a very special place in a lot of people’s heart, countless encounters started here, some lead to marriages that are still strong to this day. That’s something we are very proud of, it means we have done our job.
Most recently, the bar has been purchased by two of the longtime bartenders Bruce (15yrs) and Charlie (9yrs). Bruce and Charlie, as well as their crew, are determined to make you comfortable and show you a good time. You can learn more about them from their bios on the Bar Staff page.
1354 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA 94103
Say hello to the crew at The Lone Star Saloon, they're a friendly bunch.
I was born in the wagon of a travelling show, my momma used to dance for the money they’d throw. Actually I was born in Sydney, I moved to the U.S in 2001. I have been working in gay bars for 30 years and I love my job. Spending time with my partner and my passion for painting keep me sane. It has always been a dream of mine to own a bar in San Francisco and it’s coming true in the most fantastic way, The Lone Star Saloon.
Bruce is a Northern California native. He moved to San Francisco after meeting his husband at the Lone Star Saloon twenty five years ago. Bruce has been a bartender in The City for twenty three years, fifteen of those at the Lone Star.
It has been a dream of his to own a bar, and becoming an owner of the Lone Star is the best possible realization of that dream.
Scroll through our upcoming events
Take a look at our merchandise, we have come up with great new designs and reintroduced some old favorites.
Some great memories here and more to be made.
Photos from our patrons
Photos of our patrons
CHUNK: January 27, comes to us from Toronto. This is a party for the big boys and those that like to sniff around them.
Get CHUNKY with it!
Every second Friday of the month is Cubcake at the Lone Star Saloon. A night for cubs to come out and play. Recruit, recruit, recruit!
Check back for our new Beer Bust Gallery