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    Pride and More

    By David Landis, The Gay Gourmet–

    First off, it’s great to be back writing this column, with a new bionic knee, no less. Thanks to all the loyal readers who have sent notes of concern and support. The good news is that I’m back in the saddle, doing great, and well on the way to recovery.

    Now, to the matter at hand! There’s a lot of talk about Pride this month. But what does Pride really mean? I’m of the opinion, in the spirit of Harvey Milk (who said everyone should come out), that Pride means showing up.

    Showing up can express itself in a thousand ways. For me, I’m proud that during my short time on this planet, I’ve: held the hands of dear friends who were dying of AIDS, while I was still in my twenties; been the first to dance at my employer (KPIX TV)’s holiday party in the 1980s with my boyfriend (now husband); delivered thousands of meals over 11 years to people with terminal diseases through Project Open Hand; helped start television’s first AIDS education series on national TV, inviting Elizabeth Taylor to get involved in the cause for the first time (and winning a Peabody award); boldly celebrated my 10th anniversary with my husband in a redneck town in Montana where everyone sang to us in front of the locals; helped a popular on-air anchor come out when you didn’t know if you’d lose your job; joined the throngs of newlyweds at City Hall to get married when Gavin Newsom made same-sex marriage legal; supported ZATA, an organization that helps people with AIDS in Zimbabwe; purposely called my partner “husband” (even though sometimes he cringes), especially in front of those who might call us something else; honored our local and out-of-town drag performers by turning up at just about any drag show I could possibly attend; brought thousands of out-of-towners and locals to AsiaSF to help expose them to what transgender means; gathered openly at that great bar, 440 Castro, with my gay brothers, sisters, and others, to watch the passing parade on Castro Street; and started this column, proudly calling myself “The Gay Gourmet.”

    But, like many of you, I’ve only just begun. There is so much more to do. With each day that passes, I fear that, unless we continue the fight, we will lose all the rights and privileges we’ve gained during our lifetimes.

    Back to the point. I guess Pride means doing whatever you can do to help celebrate our community in whatever way you can. To that end, I’m proud that our diverse and celebrated restaurant community has joined the month-long observance. Here are just a few ways that they—and you—can continue to exhibit Pride.

    Sizzle, San Francisco’s Dinner Drag Show to Kickoff SF Pride Weekend: One Market Restaurant and famed SF Drag Queen Bobby Friday present SIZZLE: San Francisco’s only dinner drag show to kickoff SF Pride Weekend 2024 on Thursday, June 27. Experience eye-popping performances paired with an indulgent 4-course dinner from Chef Mark Dommen, for an unforgettable evening of glamour and entertainment. The dinner is a benefit for LYRIC—a San Francisco LGBTQ+ youth organization. 

    The Al Hirschfeld Foundation celebrates Pride Month with its latest online exhibition, Hirschfeld’s Drag Show, now live through August 15. The special guest curator for the exhibition is Tony-nominated playwright, actor, director, novelist, and drag legend, Charles Busch. The new exhibition celebrates some of the greatest drag performances of stage and screen, as seen through the eyes of legendary artist Al Hirschfeld. Charles Busch offers his commentary on Hirschfeld art depicting scenes from Broadway and Off-Broadway theater, and film, including Hairspray, Some Like It Hot, Victor/Victoria, Charlie’s Aunt, Tootsie, and Peter Pan, and artists including Julie Andrews, Mary Martin, Harvey Fierstein, Charles Ludlam, José Ferrer, Katharine Hepburn, Raquel Welch, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Dustin Hoffman, BD Wong, Tony Roberts, Robert Morse, and more.

    The Madrigal features 3 Pride cocktails inspired by the Beacon of Light, San Francisco’s rainbow light installation that beams with equality and community. These include: Clone Canyon, with gin, pineapple, hibiscus shrub, lime, cilantro, firewater, grapefruit soda, and a pink glowing ice cube; The Ensemble, with Ketel One vodka, pea flower, vanilla, lime, egg white, and club soda; and Mayclem’s Whey, with light rum, Zacapa 23, lemon, orange, pineapple, coriander, cinnamon, green tea, and milk whey.

    San Francisco Pride month is in full swing at the Ferry Building. Indulge in Humphry Slocombe’s “Make It Gay” sundae, featuring two scoops of Tahitian vanilla ice cream, house-made pink marshmallow fluff, and Fruit Loops. Savor Acme Bread Company’s “Rainbow Sandwich” all month long with roasted eggplant, house-made romesco, basil, and spicy giardiniera on its Pizza Bianca.

    Early To Rise is offering a special “Glitter Doughnut” during the month.

    Alora on the Embarcadero is donating proceeds to LYRIC from the sales of its Pride cocktail, “Rosé All Day” and its Pride dessert, “Farmers’ Market Berries.”

    Above It All Pride Parade Viewing Party: Join Charmaine’s at The San Francisco Proper Hotel on Sunday, June 30, for a fabulous day filled with celebration, music, and fun. Get ready to watch the vibrant Pride Parade from a prime rooftop spot on Market Street, while enjoying crafted cocktails and delicious bites.

    On June 30, The Phoenix Hotel’s iconic Mighty Real Pride Sunday is one of the hottest and most sought-after celebrations in the city. Back this year for another day party by the pool, the event features popping DJ artists, flowing drinks, and Pride vibes galore. Artists include David Harness, Evelyn “Champagne” King, and Tedd Patterson. This event will sell out, so it is highly encouraged to snag a ticket while you can. 

    Barrio in Ghirardelli Square is celebrating Pride month with a special “Rainbow Margarita,” where a portion of proceeds are donated to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. This upgraded signature margarita features a blend of blue curaçao, cherry, and pineapple juice.

    The new Beacon Grand Hotel at Union Square (formerly the Sir Francis Drake Hotel) unveiled a 3,000-square-foot Pride flag down the side of its building in celebration of Pride month. Throughout the month, the historic property will offer a special room package and cocktail in support of SF Pride. Available at the hotel’s bar and restaurant, The Post Room, the “Simply Complicated” cocktail will be served with an oversized Pride cookie from local gay-owned Hot Cookie, and a portion of proceeds will directly support SF Pride. Inspired by a chocolate-dipped strawberry, the “Simply
    Complicated” cocktail is made with Pasote Tequila, spiced agave, fresh strawberry purée, and basil.

    Starlite, the rooftop bar at the Beacon Grand Hotel, is also honoring LGBTQ+ Pride. Through the end of June, Starlite will be offering the “Little Red Dress,” a delicate cocktail of vodka, blood orange, Meyer lemon, and sparkling wine shaken and served in a coupetini glass with a touch of sparkle. 25% of each cocktail will be donated to Rainbow Honor Walk, the walk of fame installation in the Castro that honors notable LGBTQ+ individuals from around the world who left a lasting mark on society.

    The Downtown SF Partnership is producing the return of Drag Me Downtown, a weekly series of pop-up drag performances featuring some of the biggest names in San Francisco drag, every Thursday in June. Performers at this year’s event include Afrika America, Oliver Branch, Tito Soto, Amoura Teese, Tyson Check-in, Kipper Snacks, Mahlae Balenciaga, and Carnie Asada. There will also be two Queer History Bus Tours and a sing-along before the final Drag Me Downtown performance on June 27 from 1–2:30 pm and 3:30–5 pm. Legendary drag queen Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will lead the tour and show attendees the hidden LGBTQ+ past of downtown San Francisco while cruising past lesser-known queer landmarks and singing along to classic pride anthems before the final drag show in the series. 

    In honor of Pride month, Gentleman Farmer Wines has created a Pride-themed 2021 Red Blend (mostly Merlot) and is donating 5% of the proceeds of the wine to the It Gets Better Project and 5% to LGBTQ Connection.

    Ginger’s, San Francisco’s only Financial District LGBTQ+ bar, is reopening June 28, just in time for Pride. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Ginger’s will reopen in its home since 2017 at 86 Hardie Place. An opening celebration will include a blessing from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence drag group and a party hosted by Bay Area drag performers Miss Shugana and Madd-Dogg, with special guests Kylie Minono, MGM Grande, Laundra Tyme, and Helixir Jynder Byntwell.” 

    Kokak Chocolates: This queer-owned Castro chocolatier is offering several Pride specials, including: the Kokak Pride Combo: “Love is chocolate” organic t-shirt and the “Kokak Pride 2024 chocolate collection” (customers can use the code SFBAY15 at checkout to enjoy a discount for the combo). In addition, Kokak has a special Castro Pride chocolate collection with artisanal Pride designs for sale. 

    Bouchon Bakery, Yountville: Celebrate Pride with Bouchon Bakery’s “Rainbow Cake.” This deliciousness is six layers of almond cake, filled with alternating apricot and raspberry jams, and topped with a dark chocolate glaze and shimmering luster dust. Slices are available for the month of June. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Hetrick Martin Institute to support LGBTQ+ youth.

    Pride lasts all month long at St. Helena’s Clif Family Winery. Enjoy a “Rainbow Sprinkle Sugar Cookie” from the Clif Family Bruschetteria Food Truck, where 100% of the proceeds from every cookie sold through June will be donated to LGBTQ Connection Napa. This organization is an initiative fueled by youth and other emerging leadership, and it fosters a healthier, more vibrantly diverse, and inclusive community in Napa and Sonoma counties.

    Be Bubbly in Napa features its “Blush and Bubbly” dinner/drag show on June 28. Ava Lashay returns for an encore drag performance and brings her best Pride show to be bubbly. Colorful attire is encouraged.

    The New Bar, San Francisco’s new nonalcoholic bar in the Marina, is popping up to support The Phoenix & The Castro Club for their “Sober Pride Party” at Hotel Yotel during the Pride Parade on June 30.

    It’s not during June, but Opera Parallèle, in collaboration with The Transgender District, will help launch the first-ever statewide Transgender History Month in August with the third edition of Expansive, an enthusiastic showcase of transgender and nonbinary classical artists in two performances at 7.30 pm on Thursday, August 8, and Friday, August 9, at A.C.T.’s intimate Strand Theater.

    Following Pride, Out in the Vineyard’s “Gay Wine Weekend” takes place this year at the Vintner’s Resort in Santa Rosa July 19–21. The weekend-long event is centered on LGBTQ+ community building while enjoying delicious food + wine, and benefits the local HIV/AIDS charity Face to Face.

    This June, the Palace Hotel, A Luxury Collection Hotel in the heart of San Francisco, has planned several Pride events, including: a colorful Pride-themed afternoon tea with rainbow pastries, which benefits the SF LGBT Center; and a Pride hotel package in hotel rooms with guaranteed views of the June 30 SF Pride Parade. Guests who book this limited-time package will also receive a bottle of wine from VOON, a San Francisco based, LGBT-owned wine label focusing on low-intervention, small-production wines and a whimsical aesthetic. The package is valid for stays from June 28–30, using booking code: LVU.

    Pomella in Oakland is once again offering its yearly tradition of house-made Pride Rainbow Cookies. 

    They’re only $8 for a four-pack, you can order online—and oh, they’re so yummy! 

    Summer Bar & Lounge in Oakland hosts a “Know Your Status” party beginning at 9 pm on June 29. In partnership with Sutter Health, they’re offering free HIV testing and same day Prep, all with free cover.

    Launched in 2021, Suncliffe is a botanical gin company founded by business and life partners Ryan Lawrence and Thomas Giddings, in partnership with their Brooklyn-based friend, Clare Byrne. Together, the creative trio have crafted an aromatic gin that utilizes three local junipers, foraged in the high desert of Sedona. Suncliffe’s “Arizona Botanical” signature gin is perfect for mixing or sipping. 10% of Suncliffe sales during June—from online, retail, and restaurant accounts—will go to the ACLU’s LGBTQ rights initiative.

    The Academy SF is hosting a “Pretty in Pink” garden party on June 29. According to the social club, guests can “step into a kaleidoscope of love and liberation while indulging in signature cocktails, uplifting beats, and dazzling go-go’s, all amidst a lush garden backdrop. Embrace your own shade of pink, and let your true colors shine as we come together.”

    Throughout June, restaurant recommendation site The Infatuation will be partnering with LGBTQ+ and ally bakeries in San Francisco and elsewhere to make one-of-a-kind treats to celebrate Pride. The Infatuation will grant the Queer Food Foundation (QFF) a donation of $50,000 as a part of this campaign. QFF is a collective of queer individuals who work at all intersections of the food system—from food justice, culinary to community organizing, media, hospitality, and more. San Francisco bakeries (all queer-owned or outspoken allies!) selling a bake sale-exclusive Pride-themed treat include: Kokak Chocolates, Chadwick’s, and Dynamo Donut and Coffee.

    Nob Hill’s The Summer Place is featuring several Pride-themed cocktails during June. The special drinks include the San Francisco, a frozen drink with Astral tequila, hibiscus, cucumber, rose water, and sparkling rosé; the Key West, with Tito’s vodka, elderflower, dolin blanc, citrus, sparkling wine, and mint; and the Provincetown, with Botanist gin, creme de violet, citrus, and maraschino liqueur. All drinks are created to represent three proud cities, which have a large presence that supports the LGBTQ+ community.

    And finally, 13-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani has teamed up with long-time San Francisco drag queen (and my fellow San Francisco Bay Times columnist) Donna Sachet to create limited-edition Rainbow Bagels to celebrate Pride month. Baked daily, the technicolored bagels will be available at Tony’s Dago Bagel in North Beach and for delivery via DoorDash Thursday through Sunday throughout the month of June. Bagels are plain or patrons can order it “Sachet Style,” which comes toasted and topped with sweet confetti cream cheese. All proceeds from the bagels will benefit the Rainbow Honor Walk, which is supported by Donna.

    One Market Restaurant:
    The Al Hirschfeld Foundation:
    The Madrigal:
    The Ferry Building, San Francisco:
    Humphry Slocombe:
    Acme Bread Company:
    Early To Rise:
    The Phoenix Hotel:
    The Beacon Grand Hotel:
    Drag Me Downtown:
    Gentleman Farmer Wines:
    Kokak Chocolates:
    Bouchon Bakery:
    Clif Family Winery:
    Be Bubbly:
    The New Bar:
    Opera Parallele:
    Out in the Vineyard, Gay Wine Weekend:
    The Palace Hotel:
    Summer Bar & Lounge:
    Suncliffe Gin:
    The Academy San Francisco:
    The Infatuation:
    The Summer Place:
    Dago Bagel:
    440 Castro:

    David Landis, aka “The Gay Gourmet,” is a foodie, a freelance writer, and a retired PR maven. Follow him on Instagram @GayGourmetSF or email him at: Or visit him online at:

    The Gay Gourmet
    Published on June 27, 2024