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Tavern Guild of San Francisco

 Organization

The Tavern Guild of San Francisco (TGSF) was founded in 1962 when an informal drinking group of gay bar owners and bartenders created an organization to share news, socialize and protect their community from discriminatory laws. Phil Doganiero, a bartender at the Suzy-Q bar on Polk Street, was elected as the first president of the organization. He was followed by Bill Plath (owner of the D'Oak Room) and Darryl Glied (owner of the Jumpin' Frog). Within its first year, TGSF addressed many of the persistent problems faced by their community. TGSF circulated the names of patrons who wrote bad checks, photos of undercover police officers, and retained lawyers and bail bond agents for patrons and employees who were subject to police abuse and prejudicial laws.

By collecting their resources, the Tavern Guild was able to advocate for political reform, cushion the economic hardships of its members and support numerous charitable organizations. The group staged fundraising events for homophile organizations like the Mattachine Society, the Daughters of Bilitis, and the Society for Individual Rights. Towards the end of the 1960s, TGSF contributed to other progressive organizations including the United Farm Workers and the American Civil Liberties Union. TGSF effectively raised money and political clout by hosting community events such as, auctions, dances, and picnics. The most significant social event on the TGSF calendar was the annual Beaux Arts Ball, which was first held in October 1963.

With the help of the Tavern Guild, local politicians began to appreciate the gay electoral bloc and started to use gay bars as access points to that powerful constituency. The Guild’s political committee arranged events with politicians, voter registration efforts in the bars, and the distribution of election information. As the Tavern Guild’s membership grew thought the 1970s and 1980s, so did their influence. By June 1980, the Tavern Guild claimed a member base of at least 184 individuals and 86 businesses, mostly gay and lesbian bars. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Tavern Guild model spread to other gay and lesbian communities around the country. For a number of reasons, including the widespread death and community fragmentation as a result of the AIDS epidemic, skyrocketing commercial rent, and demographic shifts, the Tavern Guild lost members and influence throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The organization disbanded in 1995.
Finding aid for Tavern Guild of San Francisco Records, 1961-1993 (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.)

Boyd, Nan Alamilla. Wide-open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965. Berkeley: U of California, 2003.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Tavern Guild of San Francisco Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MS144
Abstract The Tavern Guild of San Francisco (TGSF) was founded in 1962 when an informal drinking group of gay bar owners and bartenders created an organization to share news, socialize and protect their community from discriminatory laws. The Tavern Guild of San Francisco collection is contained in one box and spans the years 1965-1992. The 418-page collection mainly consists of the TGSF newsletters, which provided members with meeting minutes, financial and membership reports, community announcements...