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.




(415) 863-9999



1354 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA 94103






M-Th 4p–2a
F 2p–2a
Sa-Su 12p–2a