Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Lone Star Saloon

During most of the summer, the western half of San Francisco is blanketed in fog, with the Civic Center, on the cusp of sun and gloom, usually whipped by intense winds.

Five blocks away to the south on Harrison Street between 9th and 10th Streets will get you to my favorite pub where it is usually reliably sunny in its back yard.

There is also a windbreak involving four walls.

The pub caters to the gay "bear" movement, which is an odd fetishization of large, hairy, bearded guys in reaction to the worship of slim, smooth and muscled guys elsewhere in the gay world. Think of James Gandolfini with a beard, and you'll get the ideal.

The commodification of small affinity groups stikes me as absurd, however. It reminds me of taking photos for an outdoor event at the Randall Children's museum, with about 100 parents and children of all races, religions and romantic preferences mingling happily, except for three women who sat underneath a banner in their own part of the lawn that proclaimed, "Lesbian Mothers of Twins."

On Saturday afternoons, from 3 to 7, there is a "beverage benefit," meaning all the beer you can drink for $8, which goes to a community group. This week's beneficiary were the Dukes and Duchesses of San Francisco, who didn't seem to be a very big draw.

Still, most of the regulars were there, and most of them could care less about the "bear" movement. They are an interesting crew of young and old...

...artists and computer programmers...

...psychic former hippie witches...

...all being attended to by Casey, The Bartender Dude who's a surfer at heart.

It was a charming communal buzz.


Princess Sparkle Pony said...

This is such a good series. I like how you don't just go for the lurid or "sexy" like other snappers would. You catch the feeling of community and "regularness". Good show!

sfmike said...

Thank you, Princess, I'm glad the feeling of the place got conveyed. The Lone Star has always been a terrible place to find a one-night stand but a great place to find a lover since you can have a conversation there.