With a history spanning 48 years, Twin Peaks Tavern in the heart of the Castro District in San Francisco, may soon be forced to call ‘last drinks’ for the final time, without immediate funding.
Originally opened in 1935, it has operated since 1972 as a gay bar when lesbian friends Mary Ellen Cunha and Peggy Forster bought the venue. More recently, Twin Peaks Tavern was granted landmark status in January of 2013, and is widely regarded to be the first gay bar in the United States of America that featured glass windows which displayed its patrons rather than hiding them from public view. But because the outside could look in, and at a time, when law enforcements were still targeting gay establishments– Cunha and Forster established a “no-touch” rule that established Twin Peaks Tavern as less of a pickup spot and more of a social club.
Until 2020, and the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic saw LGBTQI venues across San Francisco close their doors, the venue remained one of the most popular in the Castro district and in an attempt to save the historic space from closing, in April of 2020 the venue started a GoFundMe page.
“As a historic gathering place, we have survived many challenges that have been witnessed just outside our windows. With a deep sense of pride and community, we have risen through those past challenges, and we will survive this pandemic with help from you… Unfortunately, the cost of remaining closed is taking a strenuous toll, and without an immediate infusion of funds, our doors will close for good.
“It might feel easier for us to just give up. However, as the owners of this profoundly beloved historic landmark, we feel an obligation to fight for the place that means so much to so many. We are asking you to reach into your pockets and give anything you can to save what is simply an irreplaceable institution in San Francisco.” A statement on the GoFundMe page reads.
Across America, Twink Peaks Tavern joins a growing number of other LGBTQI venues that are facing uncertain futures, with sadly over 22 venues having already closed for good, while others, like the historic Stone Wall Hotel in New York managing to raise $323,000 to secure its future.