Oakland planning commissioners will vote next month on allowing a proposed gay bar to open in the old Ragsmatazz shoe store (seen in the photo at right) in the city’s booming Uptown neighborhood.
As the Bay Area Reporter has noted in previous coverage, Sean Sullivan and his partner, Richard Fuentes, signed a lease for the space at 2021 Broadway in order to open the Port Bar. It is next door to concert venue the Paramount Theater and near the 19th Street BART station.
The couple wants to tap into the East Bay city’s growing LGBT community. Priced out of San Francisco, many LGBT people have looked to Oakland to find cheaper rents and less expensive homes to buy.
According to the bar’s website, the owners are shooting for a summer opening. Sullivan will serve as the Port Bar’s general manager. His bio mentions that he worked for his mother’s party and catering business in New York, where he learned bar-tending skills.
He also co-founded and managed The Vault, an on campus coffee shop that operated out of unused space at Butler Hall at St. Bonvanture University, notes his bio.
Fuentes, who is running for a seat on the Peralta Community College District board, will be the bar’s vice president and director. His bio notes he has five years of experience in retail management.
The planning commission will vote on the bar’s permit request at its Wednesday, May 7 meeting. It starts at 6 p.m. at Oakland City Hall, One Frank Ogawa Plaza at the corner of 14th Street and Broadway.
In an email Sullivan sent today (Thursday, April 24), he asked that the bar’s backers attend the hearing to voice their support.
“I want to show the breadth of support this project continues to demonstrate,” he wrote. “For those missing their dinner hour, food from our dear friends and favorite Oakland Grown business will be provided, Tina Tamale. We are first on the agenda so we hope that you won’t be there very long.”
He signed off on the email with the tagline “Making Oakland a Better Place One Gay Drink at a Time.”