Black Cat Tavern

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For the San Francisco bar of the same name, see Black Cat Bar.
The Black Cat
Location 3909 W. Sunset Blvd.
Built 1939
Architectural style(s) Art Deco
Governing body private
Designated 2008[1][2]
Reference no. 939

The Black Cat Tavern was an LGBT bar located at 3909 West Sunset Boulevard. in the Sunset Junction neighborhood of the Silver Lake district in Los Angeles, California. It was the site of one of the first riots in the United states protesting police harassment of LGBT people, preceding the Stonewall riots by over two years.[3]


The bar was established in November 1966. On the night of New Year's Day 1967, several plain-clothes LAPD police officers infiltrated the tavern.[4] After arresting several patrons for kissing as they celebrated the occasion,[5] the undercover police officers began beating several of the patrons[6] and ultimately arrested thirteen patrons and three bartenders.[6] This created a riot in the immediate area that expanded to include the bar across Sanborn Avenue called New Faces, where officers knocked down the owner, a woman, and beat two bartenders unconscious.[7]

Several days later, this police action incited a civil demonstration of over 200 attendees to protest the raids. The demonstration was organized by a group called PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education).[8] The protest was met by squadrons of armed policemen.[4] Two of the men arrested for kissing were later convicted under state law and registered as sex offenders. The men appealed, asserting their right of equal protection under the law, but the U.S. Supreme Court did not accept their case.[3]

It was from this event that the publication The Advocate began as a newspaper for PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education).[9] Together the raid on the Black Cat Tavern and later the raid on The Patch in August 1968 inspired the formation of the Metropolitan Community Church (led by Pastor Troy Perry).[10][11]

On November 7, 2008, the site was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, HCM No. 939.[12][13]

Present day[edit]

After operating as a gay bar under several names, most recently La Barcito catering to the Latino community, in November 2012 the site became a restaurant and bar catering to a general clientele, named The Black Cat in memory of the earlier establishment, and displaying photographs of the events of 1967.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Department of City Planning. "Designated Historic-Cultural Monuments". City of Los Angeles. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  2. ^ Office of Historic Resources, Newsletter, January 2009.
  3. ^ a b Gay LA, Page 157, Authors Faderman & Timmons, University of California Press, copyright 2006
  4. ^ a b "Speaking Out". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  5. ^ "Timeline of Homosexual History, 1961 to 1979". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  6. ^ a b "Press Release regarding the 1966 raid on the Black Cat bar". The Tangent Group. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  7. ^ Gay LA, Page 156, Authors Faderman & Timmons, University of California Press, copyright 2006
  8. ^ "L.A., 1/1/67: the Black Cat riots.(Essay)". The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. March 1, 2006. 
  9. ^ Gay LA, Page 159, Authors Faderman & Timmons, University of California Press, copyright 2006
  10. ^ Gay LA, Page 163, Authors Faderman & Timmons, University of California Press, copyright 2006
  11. ^ "Letters from Camp Rehoboth - September 14, 2007 - PAST Out". [dead link]
  12. ^ 2009 Newsletter.pdf City of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning, "Los Angeles’ Newest Historic-Cultural Monuments", January 2009 v.3, no. 1, p. 6.[dead link]
  13. ^ "News article" (print ed.). Los Angeles Times. November 8, 2008. 
  14. ^ "A new (fancy) life for Silver Lake’s Black Cat Tavern". The Eastsider LA. Retrieved 2013-07-01. 

Coordinates: 34°5′31.83″N 118°16′47.21″W / 34.0921750°N 118.2797806°W / 34.0921750; -118.2797806