Milestones define us. Your first kiss, first crush, first… y’know – they all add up to the person you are. And one pivotal chapter in every LGBTQ+ individual’s life revolves around the first time they visited a gay bar.
Steve Terradot recalls his youthful excursions with an intoxicating blend of titillation and trepidation.
“We used to sneak in the back door,” recounts the bar owner in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Because in those days, you looked around to see who was watching you go into a gay bar.”
But it wasn’t just any ol’ saloon Terradot was frequenting; it was the legendary Boulevard bar in beautiful Pasadena, California.
Over the next two decades, Terradot graduated from patron to bartender and eventually bought the establishment. He earned enough money to care for loved ones affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis. It was more than just a watering hole; it was a lifeline.
Fast forward to the current pandemic that plagues our reality. The Boulevard is struggling to stay afloat, despite buoying its grateful clientele.
“Things have changed for gay bars, and maybe some younger people don’t feel that need for them like my generation did, but for a lot of people this is their safe place to come in and not be judged,” assesses Terradot. “To me, that is a gift that we can give.”
But inclusion is just one of the many benefits The Boulevard extends to the greater Pasadena community. In addition to providing free HIV testing resources to its guests, the bar has also become a COVID-19 vaccination center.
When news of the pub’s impending closure hit social media, it triggered a seismic online outcry.
This is my absolute favorite gay bar in Los Angeles.https://t.co/z9FTOo6fWZ
— June’s Cleaver (@charles_jensen) June 10, 2021
The Boulevard paved a path to GoFundMe, where customers are tipping generously in hopes of facilitating a successful reopening plan.
My, how times have changed. This suburban gay bar has transformed from a place where attendees once crept in stealthily in fear of being discovered to a beacon of belonging.
And Steve Terradot wouldn’t have it any other way.
“What once was my worst thing in life became my biggest gift,” he concludes. Terradot’s private passion has evolved into public Pride. We raise our glass in solidarity, and we can’t wait to strut our stuff at The Boulevard once again.
Photo: Kevin Perry
Last modified: June 14, 2021