Hold your horses
by Cynthia Laird
The White Horse Inn is historic. Situated at 66th Street and Telegraph Avenue on the Oakland-Berkeley border, it was built in 1933 and is still going strong. Long known as a hangout for gays, especially college students from nearby UC Berkeley, general manager Joey Velez said that the White Horse is officially the oldest gay bar in the United States and will soon celebrate its 80th anniversary.
Owned since 2000 by Chuck Davis, the White Horse Inn has been a community mainstay for decades. Davis and Velez said the mix of customers makes the White Horse unique.
Davis told the Bay Area Reporter that it's a fun neighborhood hang-out bar that turns into a dance club on the weekends and is enjoyed by people of every race, sex, age, and orientation.
"We cater to a diverse clientele," Velez added. "We are a community-oriented, neighborhood bar."
The White Horse offers numerous special events throughout the year, and Velez said celebrations that draw a crowd include Oakland Pride, Halloween, and New Year's Eve. The bar was packed for last month's St. Patrick's Day party as well, he said.
Karaoke nights on Mondays and Tuesdays are popular, as are the drink specials, such as $3 Long Island iced teas on Wednesdays to go with the drag nights. The White Horse has a dance floor, and there's dancing every night except Mondays and Tuesdays, Davis said.
The White Horse is also involved with the community and sponsors a gay softball team, Davis said.
Davis and Velez announced that at the end of April, things will kick into high gear with a week of parties to commemorate the milestone anniversary. The fun starts Monday, April 29 with karaoke. Other events include an anniversary show (May 1), a DJs battle of the beats (May 2), presentation of the anniversary mural and Carousel ball with guest DJ Haute Mess (May 3), guest DJ Shawn P (May 4), and a big Cinco de Mayo party and celebration (May 5).
White Horse Inn, 6551 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, (510) 652-3820. http://www.whitehorsebar.com.