The Lone Star Saloon in San Francisco stands as one of the key bear bars in the US, affectionately calling itself Bear Bar USA. We have included it on our list of Best Bear Bars in the World two years in a row because of its significance to our community.
The Lone Star Saloon first opened its doors in 1989 and the original leather/biker crowd soon began to merge with the bear scene, which was gaining its momentum in the early 90s. Needless to say, the fringe scenes fit together seamlessly even as the bear movement become the bar’s calling card.
We had the chance to talk to one of the current owners, Charlie Evans, about the bar.
What’s the history of the Lone Star Saloon?
It started in 1989 as a leather/biker bar but with the emergence of the bear scene it quickly became the first American Bear Bar.
What does the Lone Star Saloon mean to the bear community in SF?
It is a meeting place for the ever changing face of the bear community in SF. In a city like SF, with it’s many changes, it is nice to have a constant and that’s the Lone Star Saloon.
What do you think are the best attributes of the Lone Star Saloon?
Our best attribute is our customers, the ones that stay loyal and come here to enjoy themselves. Our employees too, there are only about six of us and we have managed to make it a family of sorts. Another great aspect of the bar is the change we get to see in people as they shake off their old inhibitions about being gay, being big, or liking big guys. Some people come to this city with stories of being shamed for liking big bears and when they get here they realize the world is not like that here. Here you can be liked, admired and even find love. Watching people get comfortable with that is a real joy.
What are the opening hours?
Mon-Thur 4p -2a
Fri 2p – 2a
Sat & Sun 12p – 2a
What inspired you and Bruce to purchase it?
We were both bartenders here for many years, Bruce for 13 and I for 10 and when it came up for sale we didn’t hesitate. One of the first things we brought back was the Sunday afternoon beer busts. We love this bar and were happy to return to it’s rightful place as America’s Best Bear Bar.
What kind of events take place at the Lone Star Saloon?
This community is as varied as the people that identify as bears, so, with that in mind we try to spread out an umbrella of events to cover as many bears as we can. For example our longest running party is Cubcake, it’s like a recruitment drive for the bar. We aim it squarely at younger cubs to attract them to the bar and welcome them to our community.
Some of the parties are based more on the style of music, like Reddroxx, with DJ BRD, he styles his music more toward alt-rock which has a huge following amongst bears. Or another of our monthly parties is Big Boy with DJ boyshapedbox, it’s for chubs, bears, cubs and those that like a little extra meat on the bone.
We have events like these every Friday and Saturday night. We also have weekly events like Monday night’s “Gettin Knit” a men’s knitting group that just like to hang out and knit.
What is there to look forward to in 2019 at the Lone Star Saloon?
We wanna keep the party going! Although we have some monthly parties that have been running for 3, 7 or even 12 years, we are always looking for new and interesting events for our customers. This year is no exception.
We have added 2 new parties so far this year, Woofer and Beardhaus. Woofer is a party by Lester Temple that offers music with a rock beat, bad-ass and dancey at the same time. Beardhaus is a collaboration of some Burning Man artists that really like to transform the entire bar with effects and they play 90’s dance floor classics. We are also happy to continue with Metal Bob’s parties, blasting heavy metal all night out the ass.