SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - The rainbow flag is a symbol of pride and acceptance for the LGBTQ community. It's an image seen all over San Francisco's Castro District, an area that's had an open and welcoming nightlife since the 1970s.
In 1972, the owners of Twin Peaks Tavern changed the narrative for LGBTQ nightlife by installing full-length windows where patrons can be seen. It's believed to be the first gay bar in the nation to do so.
"When the girls opened up the windows, it was a very pioneering move," says current Twin Peaks Tavern co-owner, Jeff Green. "Most of the bars were very dark and had to kind of hide." Co-owner George Roehm says at the time, the bar didn't have as much support. "Everybody told them it's not going to make it. People are not going to come in here."
Club owners say over the years, the nightlife in the Castro has had its up and downs. Today, smartphone apps allow people to meet up without going out. But some say 10 years ago, the creation of a reality competition show brought people back into the nightlife.
RuPaul's Drag Race alumni Honey Mahogany is co-owner of the Stud Bar. "I do think that, that show has really changed the way in which nightlife happens."
As the gay community gains more allies, it's also becoming more inclusive. "With the greater acceptance that we've achieved, we're sort of losing sight of all the beautiful things in our community. Our identity, our uniqueness, what we bring to the table."
Shannon Amitin, co-owner of Jolene's, says the future of queer nightlife involved catering to people who often feel left out in the Castro. "We don't have a space for women, we don't have a space for transfolks that is dedicated."
Other businesses, like Q Bar are taking note, with weekly parties dedicated to those who feel they don't fit in a place that is supposed to be welcoming to all.