The New Jalisco Bar

First Documented
Last Documented

245 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
United States

The New Jalisco Bar is a gay bar known for catering to the Latinx LGBTQ community of downtown Los Angeles. Since owner Rosa Maria Garcia took over in 2005, the New Jalisco has been welcoming regular drag performers on a nightly basis and providing a place of employment and recreation for queer immigrants free of discrimination based on gender, sexuality, or documentation.

The New Jalisco Bar has gone by many names throughout over three decades of operation, but it has consistently remained a staple hangout of the Los Angeles queer Latinx community since the 1990s. Owners Maria Rosa Garcia and her husband, Sergio Hernandez, gained ownership of the bar after Garcia started working at the venue as a bartender in 1992. At the time, the New Jalisco was a billiards bar known as the Jalisco Inn, and there was only one gay bar in Downtown L.A.: The Score. Garcia is credited with transforming the bar into an LGBTQ-friendly venue after she began welcoming in gay customers looking for an additional place to be. By the time ownership was passed to Garcia in 2005, The Score had closed and Garcia and Hernandez decided to team up and meet the need for a new gay bar in Downtown Los Angeles by committing to serve the LGBTQ community.

Described as a jotería space (fitting a gay or gender non-conforming perception), the New Jalisco Bar is known for being the club home to a number of Latinx drag queens and queer performers, as well as creating an environment comfortable for working-class patrons regardless of background or legal status. As Eddy Francisco Alvarez Jr., assistant professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at Cal State Fullerton, comments in a 2021 interview with the Los Angeles Times: "[At New Jalisco] We can show up and be Latino, Chicano, immigrant, Afro-Latino, femme, and trans — all of those intersecting identities, and just be who we want to be." Thanks to artists Rafa Esparza and Gabriela Ruiz, the exterior of the bar hosts a mural titled  "Nostra Fiesta" that pays homage to the venue's Latinx, LGBTQ, and working-class patrons. The mural was featured as part of the 2019 multimedia exhibition Liberate the Bar! Queer Nightlife, Activism, and SpacemakingOrganized by the ONE Archives Foundation and guest curated by Paulina Lara and Joseph Daniel Valencia, the exhibition showcased flyers, photographs, and paraphernalia that highlighted numerous LGBTQ spaces throughout Los Angeles for their contributions to queer liberation. The New Jalisco Bar was among the collection of notable venues alongside sites of revolutionary protest such as The Black Cat and Cooper Do-nuts

With the onslaught of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the New Jalisco Bar has been fundraising to cover rent and renovation expenses that have piled up since the bar's temporary closing. At the time of this writing, Garcia and Hernandez have met their $80,000 goal and rely on the Los Angeles queer community, like many other bars, to flood life back into the gay bar scene as they did in past times of turmoil.

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