Who would’ve thought that 50 years ago when Studio City’s Oil Can Harry’s opened its doors on Ventura Blvd., it would still be dancing high today, and celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2018?
Oil Can Harry’s isn’t just a Los Angeles or California landmark, it’s an American Historic Landmark that has stood the test of time. Few bars, taverns or restaurants in America can boast 50 years+! Oil Can Harry’s can.
It’s a business survivor. A political survivor. A HATE survivor. An AIDS survivor. Its focus was, and always has been, to be a venue for the LGBT community, and their allies, to converge and express themselves. A place that is safe, welcoming and accepting to ALL. A place to dance and lose oneself to the hot beat of a pounding bass.
Mix lots of dancing to high energy Country, Pop, Rock, Hip-Hop & R & B under a Disco ball, on a hardwood floor, and the party has just started!
I had the pleasure of sitting down with OCH manager/bartender, Tommy Young, and chat about the history and future of this extraordinarily whimsical, magical and fantastical dance club.
Waide – Tommy… please give us a background/history of Oil Can Harry’s. Start from the very beginning… can you go back as far as the 1940s or ’50s’… and tell us about the property in general?
Tommy – Oil Can Harry’s started as a burlesque club called The Zomba Room … I think in the 50`s … I’M NOT THAT OLD!
Waide – How/where would the patrons hide during police raids?
Tommy – There really was no hiding place … there was, and still is, a spy hole in the door where patrons would be looked at before entering. As the gay community was Illegal. When men were dancing with men, or women dancing with women, if the police came to the door they would look out the spy hole and if it was the police there was, and still is, a siren that would be set-off. The couples would just switch partners from man to man, or woman to woman, to woman to man, and woman to man.
Waide – Oil Can Harry’s is celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year … what is the club going to do for the occasion?
Tommy – As our customers are practically family, every night is a special occasion and celebrations will be held through-out 2018.
Waide – How did OCH provide community support during the AIDS epidemic?
Tommy – Oil Can Harry`s has always been, and always will be, a supporter of any and all AIDS organizations … from AID for AIDS to Tuesday’s Child; which is a foundation for babies with aids. When anyone came to Oil Can Harry’s to get funds for any AIDS benefit, if there was no time to create a fundraiser, the original owner, BERT CHAROT, would take the money out of his own pocket, his business partner, BOB TOMASINO, was one of the biggest advocates ever during the AIDS epidemic. BOB TOMASINO really was one of the most kind and generous men I ever met. If you needed something, he would find a way to get it.
Example, when the epidemic first started, there were hospices, housing and homes opened to house people with AIDS … They needed refrigerators, washing machines, furniture, clothing… even transportation… cars and money for taxis and bus money. There were fundraisers nearly every night of the week. From drag shows with the world-famous Campers and the world-famous Troupers… Garage sales… Even to having people donating their time for funding from car washing, doing gardening… Drink specials… And most of all, a lot of private donations from Bert Charot and Bob Tomasino. Nothing was held back. They were the pioneers of the AIDS crisis.
Nobody knew it was done as private donations from Bert and Bob, as they did not want the recognition for something they knew was so very important to the Gay community and anyone who was suffering from HIV and AIDS. They were silent ‘angels’ … They have both passed-on… but, up until their passing, both were very involved with donating to any organization who needed funding for AIDS… God bless them…
Waide – Thank you for sharing that information, Tommy… I really don’t think many in the community know about this… so much time has passed by… The rodeos, Sunday beer busts, Pride festivals… all of these dynamic social events had evolved to major LGBT gatherings… sadly, they have all but disappeared, save for L.A. Pride, but, they have left the Country Community out… completely. What do you think the reason is?
Tommy – In the early 1990s, the rodeos and Pride festivals were in full-swing. With music by one of the best Country Music DJs in America, Rick Dominguez, who still works at Oil Can Harry’s. He was also a pioneer of the Country Dance Movement and also now leads one of the best community Country Dance Groups in the United States: The L.A. Wrangles.
My opinion is that the people who run these events are now trying to make the festivals more like concerts. There are many different types of people in the Los Angeles area and many different types of bars and clubs… from The Bullet Bar in North Hollywood, with the owner Michael Lara, who also worked very hard with Bob Tomasino and Charlie and Gunter from The Eagle, to keep our ‘Gaydom’ at large and to promote what we have fought for for so many years, and that’s our Freedom. From Country, to Leather, to Drag, to just really anything you want to be! I personally love it all!
I believe it’s about money…which I do understand, because one cannot do anything without the funds to promote your function. I remember going to the rodeos at the Burbank Equestrian Center and it was packed! Full of cowboys and cowgirls who lived to dance! It was one of the most wonderful times one could have. Dancing! Watching the rodeos… it was really a place to be entertained by a different genre.
The Pride festival in West Hollywood was one of the most wonderful events one could ever imagine! Bob Tomasino, and his partner (Husband) of 35 years, John Fagan, were the leading forces of the Country Pavillion and the Country Movement. At the Christopher Street West Pride Festival in West Hollywood, after Bob Tomasino passed away, they renamed the gymnasium where the Country Festival was to the Bob Tomasino Country Pavillion! What an Honor from Christopher West to Bob!
Again, that was a real honor for all of us who knew Bob. But, I believe that whoever took reigns to organizing the Pride festival really lost the whole idea of what we always fought for, which is our own Individuality… To be anyone we wanted to be. A cowboy, a disco dancer, a drag queen, a leather man, and many many more… Also, with the arrival of the internet, it took a lot of people away from the meeting places… and, also, with a new generation, they don’t have to hide anymore and are more open to who they are and if they want to go to a so-called straight place, or go out with boyfriends or girlfriends, there is less stigma about being gay. So, I believe it took a lot away from the Gay community. We had to fight for our rights to be who we are… and I do believe that we laid the way for a brighter future for the next generation… and, I’m really proud to have watched the next generation come into their own.
Waide – Tell us about the Upstairs Lounge?
Tommy – The upstairs lounge was always a place where people could go and talk, watch a movie, or just get away from the hustle and bustle and to be able to relax and enjoy your friends. Now, the upstairs is called The Loft. We have Happy Hour Monday-Friday from 3:30pm till 7:30pm, with ‘show tunes’ with bartender Scotty. Sometimes a movie! On Friday and Saturday nights, when there is Disco downstairs, we have Karaoke upstairs… And, we have some wonderful vocalists and singers, entertainers, and even a few stars here and there picking up the microphone… but… no names given, as we like to keep our customer’s ‘privacy.’
Waide – OCH is not only a city and state landmark, but it is truly an American Landmark. Very few businesses can survive 50+ years. What do you think the ‘MAGIC’ is?
Tommy – The ‘MAGIC’ is in the Can! Oil Can Harry’s embraces everyone. No one is turned away from Oil Cans. Everyone must be 21 to enter and also must carry identification. Period. Otherwise, no entry. I have worked at Oil Cans for 32 years and there has never been any trouble. No fights or disruptions. The only way you can be fully ‘Eighty-Sixed’ is by fighting. I have only seen maybe four fights in 32 years. Eighty-Sixed (86ed, 86’ed, 86’d) means you are barred from the bar for life.
Waide – Studio City has been wanting to make OCH a Historic Landmark for many years now. Are there any plans to go forward with this? And, if not, why?
Tommy – I know the Lavender Effect, which is an educational society for Gay history, run by Andy Sacher, has been interested in making Oil Can Harry’s a Gay historic landmark, as from what I know… Oil Can Harry’s is the oldest gay bar west of the Mississippi… but… I have not heard anything for a few years…
Waide – Tuesday & Friday nights are reserved for?
Tommy – Country-Western dancing! We have couples and line-dancing classes both nights. Our Country is always the most current, and ‘hot off the press’ with the Nashville scene, with a splash of the classics.
Waide – Saturday night is?
Tommy – DISCO! Oil Can Harry’s can boast and brag that we have one of the only original Disco dance nights left in America! We have people come from near and far to enjoy the wonderful music from the ’70s’…Everyone is welcome! We have one of the largest, and most beautiful, sprung-wood dance floors in the country, and it is certainly hopping on Saturday nights… ABBA, The Bee Gees, Sylvester, Donna Summer, classic Madonna and Michael Jackson, Olivia Newton-John, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gloria Gaynor and so many more. Just make a request to one of our resident DJs.
We have Toastmasters every second and fourth Monday of the month. Public speaking… Thursdays are our Salsa nights with Salsa lessons with Mike and Christina. That’s from 8:00pm till 2:00am. Sometimes they have some of the best Salsa bands on the west coast and with some of the most wonderful body movers I have ever… ever… seen! Shake it, shake it, shake it! And, the music is infectious! Every 2nd and 3rd Sunday are our musical nights with Lori Donato, on piano, and her band. Bring your own sheet music and sign-up to sing. We have some amazing Broadway entertainers here from 4:00pm till 8:00pm. Lori and her band are some of the best musicians around! The 4th Sunday of the month is our ‘Hustle Heaven!’ Come on down and learn to Hustle from Disco Liz and John Torres, spinning some of the most fantastic music around. It just makes you want to get-up and move… that’s from 5:00pm to 9:00pm. If you’ve ever watched American Bandstand or Solid Gold, you have to come to see some of the original dancers from the dance shows, from the ’70s’ & ’80s,’ making their moves! Like, you have to see to believe! Don’t miss Hustle Heaven!
Waide – Thanks, Tommy! Thanks for helping build an institution of memories! See you on the dancefloor!
Contact OCH: www.oilcanharrysla.com
11502 Ventura Blvd.,
Studio City, CA 91604
Fun Oil Can Harry’s Trivia:
“Happy, Texas” (1999) starring Steve Zahn & Jeremy Northam was shot on location in OCH. (IMDBPro resource)
The hot Haim music video, “Little of Your Love,” shot entirely on location in OCH. (iTunes resource)
Grammy Nominee & Dove Award-Winner Ty Herndon has performed on the Oil Cans stage.
Grammy Award-Winner LeAnn Rimes has performed on the Oil Cans stage.
Academy Award-Winner Geena Davis has been spotted taking class.
Grammy Nominee & GLAAD Media Award-Winner k.d. Lang has been spotted on the dancefloor.
Congressman Barney Frank has been spotted chillin’ with the ‘real people.’
Primetime Emmy Awards & GLAAD Media Awards-Winner RuPaul has been spotted taking class.
Because Oil Can Harry’s is such a special place to socialize & dance, this story just wouldn’t be complete without testaments from the community!
Resident DJ Rick Dominguez – “My life at Oil Can Harry’s I started working at Oil Cans in 1992 and knew instantly this would become a place I’d call home! Meeting the owner Bob with his warm fatherly guidance and amazing staff, I felt a connection with this community that started from day 1 and 26 years later! Thru hard work, growth, departures, returns, triumphs, tears, loss and years of building great nights and meeting amazing people! I see no chance of slowing down any time soon! As the resident DJ of both Country Western nights and Disco/Retro nights, I established a base of loyal and amazing clientele that to this day, have been my absolute joy and reason I do what I do! Oil Cans has allowed me to utilize my vision from the beginning and letting me shape a very progressive style of line dancing we do! One that few clubs in the country can say they’ve achieved. Along with keeping up with the curve in new country music, while yet blending the great classic country hits of all decades and updating classic line dances to keep them relevant with today’s younger crowds. This has given me a platform that I have taken to many venues abroad as a guest DJ and instructor. As a line dance choreographer Oil Cans has also let me shine and given my dances a home to share with my dance family and thru social media now with the world! Lastly, I’d like to thank John Fagan and Tommy the UK Cowboy for all their hard work in following the dream Bob left us! It’s not an easy task, and with the rest of the staff, and amazing loyal dance family, I can confidently say the Magic at the Can with go on for years and years to come!”
Award-winning photographer & writer Jay Jorgensen – “At 53, Oil Can Harry’s is much more than a club to me. It’s a living, vibrant piece of our history. There is a scene at the end of the film, “Longtime Companion,” where AIDS is cured, and everyone’s friends come back. Of course, that is just a fantasy. But when I’m dancing at Oil Can Harry’s to retro music, in a club that looks like it did in the 1980’s, I feel the spirits of those whose lives should not have been interrupted. Then I look around me at all the people dancing that are my age, and I feel a kinship knowing that we all survived those times, and we’re all here, still dancing.”
Daniel Terzo – “Oil Can Harry’s came into my life at a pivotal time. I was just coming to grips with my sexuality. I was introduced to it by friends in the gay rodeo circuit. From the first time I went, at age 55, I found it warm, welcoming and inclusive. The fact that I could learn country western dancing, was an added bonus… In that first year, I met people that have remained friends many years later. No matter how long I’m away, when I go back, it’s like going home. My life now, at age 63, would have been so different, were it not for OCH.”
Chuck Stewart, Ph.D., age 66
“Remembrances of Oil Can Harry’s
January 5, 2018
The first time I went to Oil Can Harry’s was in the fall of 1974. At that time, I was the co-president of the Gay People’s Union (GPU) at San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN). As co-president, I organized social events and outings for our members. Oil Cans had the largest dance floor of all the gay bars in the Valley and those of us over 21-years old went often. Disco was king (or should I say queen) and Oil Cans provided hours of care-free dancing in a gay-accepting environment.
These were heady times for me and my friends. GPU marched in the gay parade in West Hollywood, we picketed on campus, we were coming out, and formed many life-time friendships. At Oil Cans, we mostly attended the Sunday “Campers” show. We would arrive there in late afternoon, dance a bit, position ourselves on the dance floor just before the show would begin such that once the music stopped, we dropped to the floor for primo front-row seats. The shows were irreverent, fun, silly, and, occasionally, touching. I remember distinctly the Christmas show. There would always be a reflective number where the performers dressed as angels and formed a tableau depicting the Jesus birth. Although I am not religious, I would look around the room, glaze at the sea of gay faces, and think how much I belonged with my gay family. Even writing these words make me teary eyed. I know it was tacky and probably blasphemous to some, but for me it evoked feelings of acceptance.
Upstairs at Oil Cans they used a projector to show videos on the back wall. Mostly they looped videos of Bette Midler’s Vegas routines. This was the largest video any of us had ever seen and we spent hours memorizing her monologue. All of us could recite her jokes about her and her boyfriend Ernie.
Disco was so much fun and I’m glad I experienced so much of it at Oil Cans. I left the Los Angeles area in the 1980s but once I returned to pursue a doctorate at USC in the 1990s I immediately went back dancing at Oil Cans. Country was new and I quickly became a regular three nights a week. Cari Anderson taught wonderful classes in couple dancing and line dancing. I enjoyed country dancing so much that I and took lessons in ballroom dancing from teachers catering to the gay community. I soon began teaching dance myself including teaching West Coast Swing at Oil Cans on Sundays. Jeremy Box and Elbert DuBose joined in with teaching which helped build the number of dancers knowing this more advanced dance.
For me, as a life-long dancer, Oil Cans provides something no other gay club has— a place to couple dance. There are many places to go disco dancing, and it is fun, but I enjoy the skill and camaraderie that comes from ballroom and country dancing. As I say, what could be better than having a sweaty man in my arms who is happy, smiling, laughing, and wants more. Oil Can has also provided family. Many of us, including staff, know each other outside of Oil Cans. We host dinners and parties, attend theater events, go to the Hollywood Bowl, and much more. Many of us have known each other for thirty to forty years. We have lived through new love, family drama, the loss of lovers, and more; and our Oil Can friends were always there. I truly hope Oil Cans continues for another fifty years, giving the younger generation the hours (if not decades) of enjoyment that I’ve had all these years and to build their gay families. See you on the dance floor!”
Anonymous / 20-something – “Queer Country and the Real America! Tucked away in the city of Los Angeles is one of its best kept secrets, a bar united around dance and country music. Inside, cowboy boots shuffle across the floor and working class drag is elevated to an art form. But this isn’t your regular honky-tonk. Enter on a Tuesday or Friday night and you’ll find a crowd of mostly homosexual men and women of all different ages. Gender expression runs the gamut: there are men and women who dance with an elegant grace, men who exude hyper-masculinity, and women who make those men look like sissies. Collectively, the people within trace their heritages from all over the world. Some have southern accents and others did not grow up speaking English. There are those that drive expensive pick-up trucks and others who can tell you where to get a good deal on a pair of Levi’s. This particularly American hodgepodge comes together at Oil Can Harry’s (OCH). It’s a place where country is redefined and a more authentic image of America comes into focus.
To better explicate OCH requires I tell a bit about my story of growing up in America. Like many sexual outsiders, I always grew up feeling disconnected from the people and culture around me. Born and raised in the U.S., I left at seventeen to spend four years in five different countries. Though unaware of it at the time, a longing to find somewhere I belonged fueled my travels. But everywhere I went felt just as foreign as the small American town I grew up in. Until the day I ventured into OCH.
I went alone my first night. Soon after arriving, the regulars were taking me onto the dance floor and teaching me how. When the line-dances came on, I would stand behind them and try to piece together what I thought they were doing. Eventually I caught on, made friends, and became a regular. Today, entering the bar always feels like coming home.
A few of the things I’ve come to love about OCH: the birthday dance. If your birthday has recently passed, the DJ plays a song while everyone in the bar takes turns dancing with you. The barn dance is a great way to get to know people: couples line up in a circle and switch partners, giving everyone the chance to say hello. The Regulars care about OCH and religiously enforce the no-drinks-on-the-dance-floor rule. When an older line dance comes on that only the old-timers know, I sit back and watch as I think about the history of this place and those that came before. Older country music is juxtaposed with newer versions and an amalgamation of pop, hip-hop and other genres is thrown into the mix. OCH is a unique community with its own traditions and history.
But there were two things about OCH and what it represents that always unsettled me. The first was the very notion of a gay country scene. The second was that I had my own questions about whether I belonged in any country scene.
When I tell people that a gay country scene exists, though they never quite say it, I can see the confusion in their eyes: “How and why would gay people identify with a closed-minded and homophobic small town country scene?” Associating it with backwards and conservative values, many cannot stand country music. In my teens, I myself, turned away from country music and towards more progressive genres like punk rock. The question remains: how can a population which has to flee from small conservative towns to the safety of big liberal cities find solace in country music and its culture?
Then there was my place in such a scene. For the first few years that I attended OCH, I suffered from imposter syndrome. Was I country enough to be here? Because of how white nationalism constructs a particular image of Country and then uses that image to create the ideal American, my question went further than whether I was Country enough. It was, in fact, a question of whether I was white enough, whether I was American enough, to be here.
Even having been born and raised in the United States, I struggled against this divisive image of what it means to be American. I tried doing an identity calculus. In my favor, I had grown up in a small mountain town in California. My mother was of European origins (read: white) and her family were Iowan farmers. English was my first and only native language. I grew up with my mother listening to Country music, and as a child, my favorite song was Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus…I was getting desperate with that last one. Against me, my father was an Iranian immigrant, my name is Iranian, and I look racially ambiguous (read: not completely white; not completely American). I abhor conservative politics and nationalism. I find hunting and fishing for sport cruel. I have never farmed a day in my life and don’t know how to operate a tractor. I don’t like drinking beer and prefer vodka to whiskey. I don’t drive a pick-up truck nor do I have a country accent. But then again…my father graduated from the University of Texas, idolized John Wayne, and I grew up watching Westerns with him. I couldn’t reach a conclusion. Did I really belong in a country scene? My place in a white nationalist version of America, represented by a particular image of country life, was anything but secure.
Both these conflicts, of a gay country scene and my own positionality within it, find resolution in a term introduced to me by OCH regular Mel Devore: Queer Country. What is Queer Country? In a limited sense, Queer Country represents a scene in which men dance with men, women with women, and where taken for granted notions of gender and sexuality can be questioned and reimagined. In Queer Country, gender and sexuality can be as diverse and fluid as anthropology demonstrates them to be. That’s not to say that those at OCH don’t have their gender and sexuality hang ups, surely they do, but when Queer Country is done right, there’s space for everyone. It was at OCH that, for the first time in my life, I began to embrace my affiliation with other sexual outsiders. But, Queer Country need not be limited to diversity in gender and sexuality. It can also include all kinds of differences, making space for a radically inclusive America. A land of immigrants and people of different cultural and genetic ancestries. A land of the poor, middle class and rich. A land of rebels and revolutionaries of all ages. When we think of queer as encompassing all identities and ideologies that promote diversity, we unleash it as a potent political and social force. One that holds the promise for a more kind and compassionate America.
Perhaps the need to recognize Queer Country has never been more pressing. We live in a time where Trump and the bigotry he emboldens, threatens LGBTQ safety. In fact, these forces threaten the safety of all marginalized and disempowered communities, who become easy scapegoats for a changing and increasingly stratified economy. To create these scapegoats, these forces start by defining those who belong. To do so, they appeal to a “real America,” which depicts a particular image of small town Americans: The working class, white, heterosexual Christians. The false America of white nationalism. The rightful heirs of the American Revolution. We are supposed to believe that this divisive image is authentic. To counter it, we need only remember that minorities left Europe to lay the seeds for a nation revolutionaries would cultivate. To counter it, we need only to look around us, whether in small towns or big cities, to witness the diversity of American life in the twenty-first century.
Before Trump, the suggestion that I might not be American enough was subtle but insidious. After Trump, it was anything but subtle. This is the hidden blessing of Trump’s presidency: when the American electoral system elected Trump, it exposed to daylight a side of America that, while dangerously present, could be denied or ignored. When I could finally see the suggestion clearly for what it was, its absurdity became apparent. White complexion is not a defining feature of what it means to be American, nor is place of origin, language, gender expression or sexuality. We are white, brown, black, and every shade in between. Being an immigrant or having immigrant parents is as American as apple pie. America is made up of small towns and big cities, neither more American than the other. Conservatives and the alt-right glamorize an America that doesn’t and never has existed. Oil Can Harry’s reminds us that our country is, and always has been, Queer.”
Joey Sasso / Resident OCH’s Bar-back/20s – “Oil Can Harry’s became my place of employment early in the fall of 2014 and at that time, admittedly, I was not sure what to expect from this bar that was located right down the street from my apartment. For starters, all I knew before being hired was A) the bar had a name that caught my attention for its uniqueness, and B) it was a gay bar. The fact that it was an openly gay bar never bothered me, but it was intriguing.
See, I grew up in Upstate New York where being gay wasn’t by any means ostracized, but was not nearly as accepting and open as it is here in Los Angeles, so I was never all that exposed to gay culture. So, with that being said, of course I had ideas of what this place might be like, but all of my ideas were really based on every dumb cliché us 90’s babies had seen in Comedy Films or Television shows, which I can tell you now, is a bad stereotype that needs to end. Also, being a young straight guy, I wondered if I would be accepted in this environment? I wasn’t sure. What I can wholeheartedly tell you today is that working at Oil Can Harry’s is by far, one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my life!
My ﬁrst year at the bar was such an amazing human experience of growth, friendship, learning and understanding to individuals that I would have most likely never been exposed to unless of my employment at the bar. In retrospect, a lot of my friends now tell me that at ﬁrst they thought I was miserable during my ﬁrst few months of work because I always looked “Upset.” Well, I guess we all express emotions differently because that could not have been further from the truth. Those ﬁrst few months were such an amazing eye-opening experience. I’m the type of person who loves going out of my comfort zone and exposing myself to environments that I would not normally encounter. And, this bar was at this point in my life, is the most awesome evidence of why having that mentality always pays off.
This was not like any bar I had ever encountered before. EVERYBODY had such love for each other and looked out for one another. If you were hurting, people were genuinely there for you. When you walk through those doors you’re not going into a cold environment where you don’t know what to expect, you get the opposite of knowing exactly what to expect. You see friends that have been coming to this bar for as much as thirty years, if not longer. Everyone embraces you with a hug. Are you new here? Is this your ﬁrst time? If so, I can promise you that before the end of the night, you will have a blast and make new friends that will be there the next time you decide to come to The Can.
People often ask me, “Why do you love this place so much? What is it that makes your face light up when you talk about your love for this bar?” And, my answer to that can be an hour discussion! But, to sum it up, it’s the outpouring of love that you will ﬁnd here. That’s a testament to the type of place it is! That in almost four years of employment here, there has NEVER been one ﬁght. Seriously, that is something that in this business is astounding and something that I cannot say about any bar I have ever worked in. Also, the acceptance that you will ﬁnd here is amazing. Are you straight? Are you gay? Are you Trans? Cool! Because, guess what? You’re a human being and that’s how you will be treated. Whatever sexual orientation or way of life you identify with, is of no issue here. That’s also an amazing feat that I can’t say about any other place.
Oil Can Harry’s has been a ‘godsend’ for many people throughout their lives. I have had so many conversations with men and women who have struggled with their sexuality and problems that arise
throughout life from being “different” from the rest of society. And, what amazes me is how many people give credit to Oil Can Harry’s for saving their life. When you have someone pouring their heart out to you about being suicidal and not wanting to live because of their family not accepting them, being bullied, made to feel like you’re not worthy of life based on your sexual orientation, and that person can honestly say that this bar was the reason they made it through all that and learned to accept and love themselves…Well, frankly, there is nothing more powerful than that. To sum it up, there is magic at Oil Can Harry’s. A testament to that are the customers that have never left after decades of coming here. I can wholeheartedly say this place is one of the best things that has ever happened in my life and I am so blessed to work here. If you are a person looking for a new place to go, need new friends, or just want to meet people you may not have met normally, then come to Oil Can’s! You will be accepted and make friends that will last a lifetime.”
Disco DJ Myles Gullette – “What Oil Can Harry’s means to me is a place where I’m always felt welcomed and loved, like the best friends and family make me feel. A place to have a wonderful night and forget any worries of the day.”
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION TO & FROM OIL CAN HARRY’S:
Oil Can Harry’s is easy access to and from the Ventura Blvd. bus lines: #150 & #240.
From the subway/train, just exit the Universal City/Studio City stop and make your way to the bus bays upstairs.
*CAUTION: If coming to Oil Can Harry’s from the Universal City/Studio City bus lines, the #150 & #240 stop across Ventura Blvd. from the club. There is NO CROSSWALK! It is highly recommended that you take #150 or #240 to Tujunga, get off and walk across Ventura Bl. Go right (west) for approximately 2 blocks and you’re at The Can!
From West Hollywood, you have options! Up till 9:00pm, take the #218 through Laurel Canyon Bl. and exit at Ventura Blvd., then take the #150 or #240 east and request to stop at Barry Street, which is DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF OIL CAN’S!
After 9:00pm, you will need to take the bus east to the Universal City/Studio City subway/train.