The San Francisco Bay Area is well-known as a tolerant haven for the gay & lesbian community. The east side of the bay is also known as the home of the Oakland Raiders, where fans dress like Darth Vader & wouldn’t give a second thought about spitting in the eye of a 4-year-old Broncos fan. So, you wouldn’t think the two could ever find a common ground.
Obviously, you haven’t paid a visit to Velvet. Angela Woodall of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE took a trip to the alternative lifestyle-friendly alehouse in Oak-Town, and was surprised at what she discovered.
The Velvet has all the normal amenities of a gay bar - a DJ booth, drag queen contests, bowls of Tootsie Rolls on the bar counter, the usual stuff. (At least I assume this is the usual stuff, not having gone to any gay bars myself. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) But there’s also big screen TVs to show the best of Sunday’s action, sometimes even football games.
Anyway, by chatting with co-owner Bob Huff, Angela learned there were two rules for patrons patronizing Velvet, whose motto is “Are you friendly?”:
Rule No. 1: “If they can’t deal with a gay bar, they’re not welcome,” Huff said, unloading cases of Corona longneck bottles into a cooler. “The big rainbow flag in the entrance takes care of that.”
Rule No. 2 at Velvet: Don’t trash the Oakland Raiders. “We are a Raider-friendly bar,” Huff announced, breaking into a hip-hop move as he joked with patrons.
The two don’t often go hand-in-hand. Nevertheless, a Raiders banner hangs beneath a TV above the bar, on which an episode of “The Simpsons” was playing with the sound muted.
So, a Raiders gay bar? The rest of the AFC West is gonna love this. Of course, this also gives new meaning to the term “Black Hole”.