According to the Census, Oakland along with San Francisco make up the most queer metropolitan area in America, so it’s no surprise that Oakland’s diverse and creative population includes many LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. From nightlife to dining to shopping, many of Oakland’s unique businesses are owned by queer individuals. Sample some of Oakland’s queer retailers and restaurateurs using this guide.
Bars and Nightlife
The femme-forward Friends & Family serves delicate pink cocktails, vegan-friendly small plates, and, when supplies permit, freshly-shucked oysters in a bright, postmodern space carved into a century-old Uptown industrial building. The lucky patron snags a table on the brick-walled patio.
Oakland’s White Horse Bar is the oldest continuously-operating gay bar in the United States. College students, old-timers and everyone in-between frequent this Telegraph Avenue queer anchor, often to enjoy drag king performances and karaoke nights. Jellybean Wine Bar is a proudly queer natural wine bar in one of downtown’s newest districts, the Valdez Triangle.
Find more bars in our Downtown Oakland LGBTQ Bar Crawl.
Brenda’s draws diners from across the city to North Oakland to enjoy New Orleans-style fried delicacies like catfish po’ boys and beignets. This vegan-friendly, no-reservations, quick-serve spot is especially popular for brunch and take-out.
Lauded for its inspired, vegan Singaporean-Chinese and Italian cuisine, Lion Dance Café on downtown’s busy 17th Street offers indoor and outdoor dining with a queer vibe. Don’t miss the handmade noodles and extraordinary bread. Farmhouse Kitchen serves tasty and Instagrammable Southeast Asian dishes with queer flair amid a riotously colorful celebration of Thai culture.
Downtown’s Tay Ho is celebrated in the local media for its flawless, vegan-friendly Vietnamese fare, offered alongside Asian-spiced cocktails and a thoughtful wine list. Cafe Gabriela is a downtown breakfast and lunch favorite for tasty, Filipina-inflected sandwiches and salads. A short walk from the 12th Street BART Station and several hotels, this Californified diner is sure to please any hungry visitor.
Retail & Services
Radically Fit, a gym for queer, trans, femme and non-conforming folks, regularly hosts drag and community-supporting events. Online and in-person fitness classes are available for non-members looking to move their bodies for health.
Feelmore is an upscale, femme-centric but all-encompassing adult emporium in a sophisticated Uptown storefront. Whether you’re looking for necessities or novelties, Feelmore’s knowledgeable staff handles delicate inquiries with aplomb. A Black and Queer-owned shop and “creative space,” Witness sells flirty dresses, unique tees and handmade jewelry in a charming space near Lake Merritt.
Michael Benner of Michael’s Chocolates creates delectable confections that make great gifts, treats, or inspired pairings at the wine bar next door.
See all that The Town has to offer! Check out our Digital Inspiration Guide and start planning your trip!