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El Rio is celebrating its 43rd birthday on Saturday

El Rio is celebrating its 43rd birthday on Saturday
Image: Joe Kukura, Hoodline
By Joe Kukura - Published on November 12, 2021.

Few bar reopenings inspired as much joy as the February reopening of El Rio, even if you had to buy food with your drink purchase, as those were the rules of that “to-go cocktails” era. The regulations have since loosened, and you can now even enter the bar and hang on the back patio. And enter the bar people will, as El Rio has announced a 43rd birthday party for Saturday, November 13.

“Please join us in celebrating TWO YEARS of whatever the f*ck that was...and also our 42nd and 43rd BDAY!,” the bar says in their Facebook announcement, which also promises free El Rio merchandise (“while it lasts so get there early!”) and free food from their catering partner Frisco Pink (“until we run out so scadoodle on down!”)


“Real talk, we are very #blessed to still be here and we could not have done that without every person who has supported us by showing up, buying a drink, buying merch and dancing it out on the patio,” the bar adds in their Facebook announcement. “Thank YOU for helping ensure that El Rio can remain Your Dive for many years to come. Big gay love to you all.”

El Rio had a near-death experience in 2019, but the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) bought the building with some help from the city to preserve the units of housing above. And while the pandemic had the place closed a year ago, the bar secured a sizable grant from the Human Rights Commission and Showtime's "Queer to Stay: An LGBTQ+ Business Preservation Initiative."

The El Rio birthday party begins at 3 p.m. Saturday, and features DJs La Frida, Olga T, Brown Amy, John F*cking Cartwright, and Per Sia.