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Address and Hours

View The Black Cat at 3909 Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, California 90029 on Google Maps

Call The Black Cat by phone at (323) 661-6369
info@theblackcatla.com

Get Directions to The Black Cat via Google Maps

we are a 21 & over establishment (no kittens please)

reservations accepted but not required

Monday-Thursday
4 pm - 2 am

Friday, Saturday & Sunday
2 pm - 2 am

our kitchen is open until 11 pm nightly

happy hour from 4 pm to 6 pm weekdays

for parties up to 10 guests please select the reservation button below

for parties of 11 or more please email reservation@theblackcatla.com 

Private Events

Book An Event

For event inquiries in our private event room, please fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon. For full venue buyouts and filming inquiries, please email here.

The White Room

The White Room at The Black Cat is a private dining and event space that can accommodate afternoon and evening dinner parties from 12 to 30 guests, and up to 45 guests for cocktail parties, receptions and screenings.

  • Capacity Up to 30 for dinner | up to 45 for receptions and screenings

History

Art Bell, Mary Bell standing around a sign posing for the camera

Images courtesy of ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries

a group of people standing in front of a store

Images courtesy of ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries

Unto Mononen et al. posing for a photo in front of a newspaper

Images courtesy of ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries

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a close up of a book

Historic Cultural Monument

a sign on the side of a building

Black Cat Tavern 1967

A Brief History of The Black Cat Tavern

“In 1967, LGBTQ people across the board lived under intimidation. At the time, homosexuality was considered a mental illness in the United States. Sex between two men was illegal in California, and a conviction of lewd conduct (for which kissing often sufficed) required registering as a sex offender. In addition to the criminalization of same-sex relations, the LGBTQ community faced tremendous harassment and oppression, particularly in Los Angeles from the LAPD.” Laura Dominquez- KCET

The Black Cat Tavern opened in October 1966. It was one of several gay bars that operated at that time along a one mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake. On New Year’s Eve 1967, The Black Cat was targeted in an undercover police sting. As a trio named the Rhythm Queens played in the new year and balloons dropped, the patrons and bartenders celebrated. Unbeknownst to the crowd, a dozen plainclothes police officers were positioned throughout the room in anticipation of any “lewd conduct.” A few seconds after midnight the police witnessed several men hugging and kissing and their raid began.

The police didn’t announce themselves before they pounced, pulling people apart and dragging them toward the exit. It was a confusing scene that quickly escalated to chaos. Some of the patrons fought back and the bartenders sprang to their defense. Two men tried to flee. They were all met with sudden violent force. Fourteen people were beaten to the floor, dragged to the sidewalk, and arrested in front of the bar. Six of the fourteen were charged with lewd conduct for kissing. Three weeks later they were tried by a jury and found guilty as charged. 

In response to these developments, a coalition of gay community members joined forces with Personal Rights in Defense and Education (P.R.I.D.E.) to organize a demonstration outside The Black Cat. The demonstration, held on February 11, 1967, was attended by several hundred peaceful protestors. This marked the first time in United States history that the LGBTQ community organized publicly to protest the harassment, brutality, and persecution they specifically were suffering at the hands of the police.

Soon after The Black Cat demonstration, Charles Talley and Benny Baker (two of the six men convicted) filed an appeal with the California Court of Appeals, the California Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court of the United States. Their appeal was unsuccessful in California and their convictions were upheld. The U.S Supreme Court declined to hear the case. However, their attorney mounted a legal defense that would fundamentally alter the social, cultural, and political tenor of the LGBTQ rights movement in America. The defense argued that his clients were entitled to the same legal rights and equal protection that are guaranteed to all Americans by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

The Black Cat is recognized by the Cultural Heritage Commission of the City of Los Angeles as Historic-Cultural Monument Number 939. A commemorative plaque on the façade of the building honors The Black Cat as the site of the first documented LGBT civil rights demonstration in the nation.

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