In 1967, two years before the famous Stonewall gay rebellion in New York City, the Los Angeles Police Department raided what today is known as El Barcito, but was once the Black Cat Tavern, a gay establishment on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake. In the early-morning hours of New Year’s Day, the LAPD beat up and arrested patrons and employees simply for being homosexuals. Four days later, the gay community demonstrated in the streets, which led to a more visible and vocal gay rights movement in L.A. and, arguably, across the United States. Later, the Black Cat was renamed at one time or another Tabasco’s, Basgo’s, Bushwacker and FUCK!, finally becoming El Barcito. This hopping bar serves a crowd of consistently handsome gay Latinos, offering up a Sunday “beer bust” and wildly popular, high-energy drag-queen shows. In contrast to the city’s once-brutal treatment of its gay and lesbian citizens, the Black Cat Tavern today is an officially designated L.A. historic-cultural landmark. 3909 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake. (323) 644-3515, elbarcito.com. —Patrick Range McDonald
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