Palm Springs Community Celebrates the Life of a Business Pioneer

Palm Springs Community Celebrates the Life of a Business Pioneer

Martín Di Felice

The Palm Springs community is remembering the life of a business pioneer who is referred by many as the godfather of the gay business district, that is Arenas Road today.    

David Haskamp opened Streetbar 27 years ago, it was the first gay bar and club to open in Palm Springs. Conrad Riley worked with Haskamp for many years, and he has become one of the owners of the bar, but he said Haskamp is still very missed by everyone. 

"Dick’s passing has left a huge void in everybody’s life,’ Riley said. "Especially the bar, we have 25 employees that are here, they are the ones who run the bar, and Dick has always been so proud of them." 

Haskamp passed away in his Palm Springs home on March 4, but the lose did not end there. In the early morning of March 7, a fire broke-out at Bongo Johnny’s, a bar and restaurant next to Streetbar, the incident also affected Stacy’s a bar that sits on the same business strip.

Riley said the employees at Stacy’s have not been able to return for work since the fire broke-out, and he said he wanted to give them a hand.  

Instead of closing Streetbar for Haskamp’s celebration of life on Saturday, Riley said they invited to the bartenders from Stacy’s to take over their bar and mix the drinks during St. Patrick’s Day. 

He said, "We have invited, asked them if they would like to work our bar this afternoon, and all of the proceeds and all of the tips will go to them, so we’re just kind of giving back to the community."

Riley said Haskamp would be proud of their collaboration with their neighbors, after all he said they learned the virtue from him. 

The employees and friends of Haskamp will celebrate his life at 849 Restaurant in Palm Springs on March 17.