The folks of SoMa's tech scene have reportedly taken quite a liking to gentleman's clubs. After all, most of them are gentleman, as the industry has struggled to hire women.
Former Yelp employees reportedly referred to that establishment as "Conference Room G," an ominous sign that it might serve as an extension of their business-as-usual. In an amusing coincidence, the Gold Club bears favorable ratings and reviews from patrons on Yelp's site.
While of course there's no way to verify the popularity of the Gold Club and its ilk among techies in particular, the business itself is definitely marketing its services to the influx of neighborhood techies. That's probably smart, since around 1999, the Gold Club also anecdotally enjoyed the same surge in attention. “Where the tech crowd plays” is one phrase they've employed in ads while running promotions that clearly target a tech clientele.
Particularly successful, of course, is the Club's free lunch, or as it's known in the tech world, "lunch."
The lunch buffet is its most successful campaign, having started at least a decade ago on Friday afternoons. While the event attracts all types-from construction workers to older men in suits and ties-a significant number of patrons come from the area’s countless startups and tech firms. Yelp, Optimizely and Salesforce are all within walking distance.
The overwhelmingly male population of the tech industry is a boon for people like Glenn Prime, who manages the day shift at the Gold Club, “We’re taking reservations now and getting a lot of reservations" Prime said, presumably around lunch time. "The difficult part for us is that by 11:45 [a.m] on a Friday there are no tables available.”
Okay, especially at lunch, this choice of destination might raise eyebrows. You know, it being a straight male space that would seem to exclude women, or gay men, or something. Of course, anyone's allowed in, it's just that not everyone would want to go there. But boys will be boys! Right guys?
Of course, “Yelp has never sanctioned or approved anyone going to the Gold Club for official business, and it even serves as an example in our training for new managers as an inappropriate place to do company business,” a Yelp spokesperson wrote in a statement.
With the notable exception of the late, worker-owned Lusty Lady, strip joints — which San Francisco pioneered in 1960s North Beach — are constructed around a supposition of male supremacy. I don't mean that trading dancing for money is demeaning, because that's ridiculous! What I think is clearly demeaning is that, though their industry is wholly reliant on women, strip clubs are by and large owned and operated by men.
In fact, places like the Gold Club could be seen as just one particularly dramatic example of a phenomenon — the devaluation of women by men — that, you know, could apply to other industries, a little, I guess. At least some young male tech workers would seem to be right at home with the arrangement.