Food for Thought: Cheers to Gay Bars

Pride is a month-long celebration to honor the impact of the LGBTQIA+ community. Throughout June in the United States, there are massive parades, celebrations, and tributes to the LGBTQIA+ icons that helped pave the way for modern gay rights.

However, it’s an important and sobering reminder that Pride as we know it is still relatively young – and the fight for true equality and rights for LGBTQIA+ Americans is ongoing. 

Throughout much of the early 20th century, the United States was one of several countries that outright criminalized homosexuality, a practice some nations still exercise. If someone was outed, they were often exiled from jobs, friends, family, or worse.

With few public spaces to express themselves, many LGBTQIA+ Americans found camaraderie and companionship in the relative secrecy offered by bars and clubs like the A-House in Massachusetts and the Cafe Laffitte in Exile in New Orleans. 

Revolutionary as they may have been, these spaces often came under the harsh scrutiny of law enforcement and a skeptical public. 

In 1951, the owner of the Black Cat bar in San Francisco took the California State Board of Equalization to court after it revoked the bar’s liquor license for the so-called “disorderly” behavior of its increasingly gay clientele. 

The California Supreme Court ruled in the bar owner’s favor, citing that simply serving to gay people who used the bar as a meeting place wasn’t enough of a reason to revoke a liquor license. Small as the victory might sound, it was one of the first legal precedents that protected the rights of gay Americans. 

Throughout the 1960s, gay bars and clubs gradually became gathering places for LGBTQIA+ Americans to organize and strategize an opposition to this open discrimination. 

In 1964, gay rights activits in the San Francisco Bay Area founded the Society for Individual Rights, which passed out legal guides and held voter registration drives in local bars. Gay bar owners in the area took it a step further and established the Tavern Guild, which fought against the openly discriminatory practices of the California Alcohol Bureau of Control. 

Over in New York, gay rights advocates in the Mattachine Society staged “sip-ins” in the mid-1960s to expose the discriminatory practices of the New York State Liquor Authority at bars like Julius’. 

A few years later, police raided a  mob-run bar to seize illegal liquor in the Greenwich Village area of New York. In addition to targeting the employees of the now infamous Stonewall Inn, they also roughed up and arrested patrons who were “illegally” cross-dressing. 

That night marked a major turning point in LGBTQIA+ history as patrons across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, along with wary bystanders around Greenwich, rallied against the police’s brutish tactics.  This resistance eventually resulted in riots and protests that continued for nearly 6 days. 

Stonewall acted as a catalyst for the modern gay rights movement in the U.S., and inspired some of the first Pride marches and parades that grew into the Pride celebrations we see today. In 2016, the Stonewall Inn became the first U.S. national monument in recognition of LGBTQIA+ rights

To raise a glass to this rich, often tragic history, Emily C., a mom, gay woman, and member of the operations team at Shipt, created the Pom Queen, a tropical tribute to Pride, gay bars, and drag queens.

Find the recipe to shake up your own below, and cheers to Pride! 

The Pom Queen 


For the simple syrup:

1 part coconut water 

1 part sugar 

For the cocktail:

Juice of 1 lime

3 ounces vodka 

2 ounces Pom juices

½ ounce pineapple juice 

2 ounces simple syrup 

Sparkling water 


For garnish:

Dried hibiscus flower

Edible glitter


 1. To make the simple syrup, combine equal parts coconut water and sugar into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves completely. Set aside. 

 2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. 

 3. Add lime juice, vodka, pomegranate juice, pineapple juice, and simple syrup. 

 4. Shake and strain over ice. 

 5. Top with sparkling water and garnish with dried hibiscus flower and edible glitter. Stir and enjoy! 

Get everything you need for the Pom Queen, or whatever else you’re sipping on to celebrate Pride, delivered by Shipt!

Celebrate Pride responsibly. Must be 21+ with valid ID to order or receive alcohol. Alcohol delivery varies by location.

Category: Food & Drink

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