Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Daddy's DJ retires


Longtime DJ Pete Alvarez, left, and his good friend, thelate Vince diColla. Photo courtesy Pete Alvarez
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For nearly two decades Pedro "Petey" Alvarez Jr. spun high-energy dance music at gay bars around the Bay Area. Known as the "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," Alvarez had lorded over the DJ booth at Daddy's on Friday nights since the Castro leather bar opened in 1996.

Last month, Alvarez left the late-night shifts, pulsating music, and dancing boys behind, and as he puts it, "hung up his headphones." At age 52 and with new ownership of the bar, Alvarez said it was time for him to retire.

"It was a good time for me to hang it up. I had been thinking about it for a while," said Alvarez, whose last shift at Daddy's was August 5. "I wasn't as happy as I had been."

Still employed at the University of California at Berkeley in computer tech support, where he has worked for 30 years, Alvarez said for now his DJ life is "on hiatus." And while he hasn't made the decision final, he most likely will also retire his spot as the DJ for the leather contingent in the Pride Parade.

"It was such a thrill to get the parade contingent going with my music on the float. I don't know if I will do it next summer at Pride. We will see," he said. "I just can't see going back to it at my age. It is expensive to keep one's music catalog up to date."

Hedging a bit, he did say that if the right offer to reprise his DJ persona "comes my way I certainly wouldn't turn it down."

Born in Oakland and a resident of Berkeley, the Bay Area native launched his DJ career in 1988 at the Bench and Bar in Oakland and from there landed at the now-closed Spoiled Brat bar in Hayward. There he acquired his nickname after a dance version of the Andrews Sisters song "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" (later covered by Bette Midler) came out by Company B. As explained on his farewell message Web site Alvarez became enamored with the song and began playing it at the beginning of each and every shift.

In 1991 he made his jump across the bay and began spinning at the former Headquarters/NightShift bar on Castro Street, now the site of Italian eatery Fuzio. There he met "Daddy" Philip Turner, a bartender and San Francisco Leather titleholder who later went to work across the street at – and eventually took over – what was called the Bear Hollow and became Daddy's bar in December 1996. A month later, Alvarez began his run as the bar's DJ four nights a week.

In 2000, Turner died and his partner Joe Granese and bar manager Robert Brunson assumed ownership of Daddy's. Last spring the two decided to sell the bar, and for Alvarez, an era in San Francisco's leather community began to come to a close. Under the new ownership, more emphasis has been placed on the bar's address, at 440 Castro, over the name Daddy's in its advertising, and new theme nights have begun to attract a younger, hipper crowd that does not necessarily adhere to a leather lifestyle.

"Daddy's is not what is used to be and it probably never will be. The new owners want to do the best they can to make money. The changes have been good," said Alvarez. "I don't think there has ever been a line at Daddy's and on Wednesday nights apparently there is. That is good, but the people who used to come in stopped coming in and went other places, i.e. the Edge."

Doug Murphy, one of the bar's new owners, said he wishes Alvarez the best.

"We hate to see him go," said Murphy, who is trying out different DJs on Friday nights.

For now, Murphy said Daddy's would continue to be part of the bar's official name but new clientele needed to be brought into the bar for it to survive. With new parties like Faggot the first Wednesday of the month and the recently launched CDXL (440 in Roman numerals) on Thursday nights, people who never stepped foot in the door are now checking the bar out.

Alvarez is enjoying being a homebody with his domestic partner Kevin McNulty, whom he met seven years ago at Daddy's.

"I am going to miss the people who used to come to see me so I will go out to see them," said Alvarez, who can be reached at

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