Following in the heels of Ginger's Tois, Marlena's, and Deco Lounge, Kok bar (NSFW) in SOMA is slated to drop in to the hands of new owners. Although the sale has yet to be finalized, early word has it that the place will be rechristened Driftwood -- and presumably not just a queer bar.
According to Grub Street, "We've reached out to new owners Shawn Magee (who also owns Amnesia in the Mission) and Christopher Milstead, but have not yet heard back about their plans."
Alas, another hardcore gay bar bites the gag ball. Kok, for those not in the know, is a boy bar of the leather and chain-link fence variety -- the opposite of Martuni's, if you will. The space had been a high-cruise bar for years, in fact, dating back to the '70s, and held such names as The Ramrod, My Place, Cip, and Chaps II before becoming Kok. It was also not terribly popular in its latest incarnation, especially when compared to nearby Hole in the Wall and Lone Star.
Grub Street has more:
But as gay studies scholar Tim Dean recently pointed out, this bar, as the Ramrod, was a leather bar back before the gay liberation movement began, since at least 1967, and only during its brief incarnation as Cip did it try to be anything else — namely a cocktail lounge with a water feature, for a brief period in 2005-06. It returned quickly to being My Place again in 2006, and then became Chaps II, with a new coat of black paint and the revival of its back room.
Sadly for some, leather bars across the country are closing as the hyper-masculine subculture has dwindled greatly since its heyday in the seventies, and the expected closing of Kok Bar follows this trend. The bar has styled itself as not all about leather in recent years, but has remained a "cruising" bar — albeit a sparsely populated one.
As for now, the bar remains open and ready for cruising. We'll update as soon as we know more.