Straight friendly: How an inventive gay bar in Uptown Oakland with chic design and notable local ties is redefining the LGBTQ scene

The Port Bar is a blend of Oakland past and Oakland future where people from diverse lifestyles come together

OAKLAND, California — March 1, 2017 — Industrial elegance is not something most people think of when imagining a watering hole. Enter The Port Bar, where the walls are covered in recycled metal shipping containers from the Port of Oakland and rustic wood from the former Oakland Army Base. Even the corrugated metal on the bar once covered parts of the new Uber headquarters above the 19th Street BART station less than a block away.

As the Oakland renaissance continues, The Port Bar, at 2023 Broadway next to Paramount Theatre, is a gem venue for fancy cocktails and mischievous house drinks including Sailor Boi, Summer Camp, Happy Ending and Hung Like A Mule. The BackSide lounge features weekly cabarets and dance parties and is available for private events.

The port bar owners, sean sullivan and richard fuentes (Jeff Kaluzny/JMKImages @jmkImages)

The port bar owners, sean sullivan and richard fuentes (Jeff Kaluzny/JMKImages @jmkImages)

“People who live in Oakland have pride in our city,” said Sean Sullivan, The Port Bar’s co-founder and general director. “We strive to provide a welcoming environment where people feel at home, enjoy great drinks and good entertainment, and make friends.”

The hometown connection to the inspiration and detail of The Port Bar is noticeable. Co-founders and domestic partners Sean Sullivan and Richard Fuentes have lived in West Oakland for over 10 years. In addition to their entrepreneurial endeavor, the couple are community trailblazers with ties to Bay Area political, business and nonprofit organization leaders.

Sullivan recently was elected to the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) advocating for the building of housing needed to retain a qualified workforce necessary to keep Oakland moving forward. He previously served as vice chair of Alameda County-Oakland Community Action Partnership and was a 50 Fund Playmaker recognized by Covenant House and the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee.

the port bar industrial interior (Jeff Kaluzny/JMKImages @jmkImages)

the port bar industrial interior (Jeff Kaluzny/JMKImages @jmkImages)

Fuentes currently is principal of government and community relations at BART. He serves on the board of directors of global LGBTQ media arts organization Frameline, previously served as legislative director with Oakland City Council, and was named to the 2016 class of 40 Under 40 honorees by the San Francisco Business Times.

The couple’s political sway was on display in January when The Port Bar hosted U.S. Congress members Barbara Lee (D-CA 13th District), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA 11th District), Mark Pocan (D-WI 2nd District) and Donald Norcross (D-NJ 1st District) along with local Bay Area residents supporting advocacy of LGBTQ rights.

the port bar wall of recycled shipping containers from the port of oakland (Jeff Kaluzny/JMKImages @jmkImages)

the port bar wall of recycled shipping containers from the port of oakland (Jeff Kaluzny/JMKImages @jmkImages)

The San Francisco Business Times estimated Oakland has 40,000 residents who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). While there are a handful of other gay-friendly establishments in the East Bay—including two in Uptown Oakland—The Port Bar is the only full service gay venue open seven days a week.

“There is plenty of room in Oakland for different bars serving the gay community,” Sullivan said. “We’ll be thrilled if just 1 percent of our local gay community stop by on any given night. When anybody, gay or straight, walks through our door, we want them to feel they’re among friends.”

More information about The Port Bar and its nightly events can be found here.

About The Port Bar

The Port Bar is a straight friendly gay bar where people from diverse lifestyles come together. Located in Uptown Oakland, Calif., the bar, decorated with repurposed materials from The Port of Oakland and other local venues, features gourmet cocktails, specialty house drinks and a variety of beers on tap. The BackSide lounge features weekly cabarets, shows and dance parties and is available for private events. Learn more at www.portbaroakland.com.

Media Contacts:
Todd Nelson
TNTpr
tnelson@tntpr.com
(415) 533-1661

Sean Sullivan
The Port Bar
sean@portbaroakland.com
(510) 823-2099