The summer is 1969 is remembered as a moment in time that is forever etched into our psyches. Those three months witnessed the Stonewall riots, Woodstock, Apollo 11 where man first landed on the moon, the Charles Manson murders, and the death of gay icon Judy Garland.
Across the causeway to Galveston, Robert Mainor made history with the purchase of Lafitte’s, one of several gay bars in the area. He renamed it Robert’s Lafitte, and now, 50 years later, it is the oldest gay bar in Texas with the same continuous owner.
Robert’s Lafitte has become a beloved Galveston institution that attracts a variety of clientele. While all are welcome, the bar maintains its gay persona. The drag shows are legendary and a must see for visitors.
The weekend of August 23 through 25, the tavern located just a couple of blocks from Pleasure Pier, celebrated 50 years of service with a weekend of drag shows, drink specials, and pool parties. Yes, they have a pool on the patio behind the building.
Carly Davin Nation wrote on Facebook, “My goodness I am pooped! But it was a really fun day of drag at Robert’s Lafitte. Happy 50th Anniversary! Gosh, I remember when I was first coming out around the 35th anniversary. How time flies! So, so, soooo many memories in that bar! Here’s to 50 more years of the oldest gay bar in Texas, and definitely one of the most unique!”
Misty Valdez, a legendary island diva, said, “A big shout out to Robert’s Lafitte (Texas’ oldest gay bar) wishing you a happy 50 year of service to our community! Thank you for the fun, laughs, and memories. Most of all thank you for giving me a place to call home for over 35 years! Thanks for opening your doors for me when no one else would. Without you there would be no Misty Valdez. To all former entertainers past and present, “thank you” for carrying on the tradition!”
In an era when gay businesses are facing the challenges of changing demographics and increasing assimilation between gays and straights, Robert’s Lafitte stands proud, an island of stability in a fast-changing world.