Saturday, May 23, 2020

It’s With Great Sadness That I Say Goodbye ….


… to The Stud, San Francisco’s oldest continuously operating queer nightclub.

Yes, The Stud, is permanently closing its current location at Ninth and Harrison streets in SoMa amid the COVID-19 crisis:
“The Stud is the country’s only cooperatively owned LGBT venue and has been in operation for 55 years [but] because of a lack of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the historic bar will be announcing that they are permanently closing their location and will be holding a drag funeral to honor the end of an era of LGBT nightlife.”
Damn you, COVID-19!

I have many fond memories of The Stud from living out West. Dancing at The Stud; drinking way too much at The Stud; finding love for the night at The Stud. Every time I’d have a visitor, off we’d go, because it was raucous and bawdy and fun and friendly and queer and safe.

My favorite story is the time a large group of us went wine tasting in Napa and then went back into The City looking for fun; our first stop was the Paradise Lounge in SoMa; a former YMCA, the dance floor was a plexiglass slab over the empty swimming pool, and bars were set up in the locker rooms. Paradise wasn’t exclusively gay, but it was a fun place to start the night. As we entered the building, my friend Robby, straight as could be, asked if it was a gay club and I said ‘No.’ It wasn’t; it was an everybody club, so in we went. After a while we wanted to switch things up and The Stud wasn’t too far, so off we went. Robby said:
“The Stud? That’s a gay place.”
“No. That’s just the name.”
But it was deliciously gay and as we entered the building, Robby leading the way, the first thing he saw were two guys in briefs dancing on the bar. He shot me a panicked look and I assured him he’d be fine.
“But what do I do if a guy hits on me and wants to dance or buy me a drink?”
“Take the drink, and if you wanna dance, dance, if you don’t then don’t.
We practically had to pry Robby outta that place later on because he was having so much fun, being straight in a gay bar.

Who. Knew.

And now, it’s going away?

Perhaps not. After initial reports claimed The Stud would be closing for good, co-owner Marke Bieschke said they have plans to look for a new location:
“We’re still going to come back when this is over—a different space with the same lovingly outrageous vibe. … And after this is all over, a new permanent location, to help rebuild the city’s shattered nightlife scene—and continue the Stud’s rough-and-tumble legacy the only way we know how: with shots up and heels high.”
Just like I remember it.

10 comments:

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Oh Bob.. that title was just so mean, I nearly dropped my phone. I changed my mind... I'm back on Carlos's side again, for everything no matter how silly of him!

the dogs' mother said...

Hope it works out for them.
Will cross fingers and toes.
stay safe, xoxo :-)

Raybeard said...

Like for 'Sooooo' above, your title shocked me until I opened it up (phew!), though that's not to downplay the great loss that you and others with your memories feel.
Puts me in mind of the closing of London's 'Coleherne' 12 years ago, the country's most renowned and well-established gay leather bar - frequented by both celebrity 'outs' as well as the closeted, and regularly mentioned in gay literature. The change was because the capital's gay scene had shifted, together with most of its clientele and tourists, from the Earl's Court area to Soho, so it was a kind of 'natural' progression. But for 'your' bar to be yet another victim of Covid-19 is indeed brutal, almost the last thing you needed to hear. Commiserations.

Sadie J said...

I love the story of your friend. It just shows, if people relax, things aren't as scary as they thought! Hopefully, when the new place opens (no ifs, just when) it will be just as fun and a place where people can make new memories.

whkattk said...

I felt the same way when our iconic club The Gypsy shut down for good. The building still sits empty. And nothing even akin to it has opened in the ensuing years.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

For our generation, gay bars were such a big deal. I guess for the young ones today, the internet has supplanted them.

Bob said...

@Steven
As soon as I wrote it, I thought, Oh wait, this looks like something else.

@TDM
I hope they find a new spot.

@Raybeard
Sorry for that, I was just so heartbroken to hear the news and then think back on all the good times.

@Sadie
That's it exactly.

@whkattk
Even though I now live 3000 miles away, I hope they reopen somewhere else.

@Debra
i like the personailty of a bar; the internet is so sterile and cold.

Moving with Mitchell said...

We lived in SF just a couple of years and I was no longer a bar-goer. I missed out on this.

Treaders said...

I love your Robby story. I can just picture him having a blast!

Mistress Maddie said...

I remember taking a cocktail or two at the Stud when on visits to San Fran. I loved that place. The Stud, Midnight Sun, and Moby Dicks all made for a fun night.