Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Oakland gay bar set to open


Port bar co-owners Sean Sullivan, left, and Richard Fuentes. Photo: Jeff Kaluzny
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The Port bar in Oakland, which has been under construction for a couple years, is set to have its grand opening Saturday, July 9, co-owners Sean Sullivan and Richard Fuentes told the Bay Area Reporter .

Sullivan said in a text message Tuesday that there was a chance the bar would have a soft opening this weekend, for LGBT Oaklanders who want to "stay local and still celebrate an important and timely Pride weekend."

The Port will be Uptown Oakland's first seven-days-a-week LGBT bar, according to a news release.

Fuentes and Sullivan, who are a couple, have been involved in Oakland for over a decade. Both ran for public office in 2012 – Sullivan for a City Council seat and Fuentes for a position on the school board – but came up short in their elections. They said the idea for opening a gay bar stemmed from their campaigns.

"During the campaign we spoke to so many LGBT residents and so very often heard, why isn't there a gay bar, just a bar, open seven days a week in the heart and soul of Oakland's Uptown," Fuentes said in a news release.

Following the election, the men convened focus groups about the concept. Then they found the site, located at 2023 Broadway in the old Ragsamatazz building next to the Paramount Theatre.

Fuentes said that Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, whom Fuentes used to work with when they were both aides to the City Council, has often remarked about the city's "special sauce."

"That sauce refers to our diversity, but it's also our commitment to an activity spirit, fighting for equality, and equity through protest, struggle, and recognition of those whose shoulders we stand on," he added.

The men said that the recent Orlando nightclub tragedy added urgency to their desire to open Port as soon as possible. They wanted local LGBTs to have a place to "meet and unload." The bar will feature artisan cocktails, along with other beverages.

The formal grand opening will be July 9 at 10 p.m.

But Sullivan hopes that people can get a sneak peak sooner.

"Barring any last minute hiccups, we expect to be serving up cocktails and community this weekend," he said.

To see if Port will be open this weekend, Sullivan said people should check the Facebook page at




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