The Stud Collective announced late Wednesday that iconic SF gay bar The Stud — currently holding the title of the longest continually operating gay bar in town, though not in the same location — will shut its doors at its current location as of Thursday.
The announcement specifically says that Thursday will be The Stud's last day at 399 9th Street, the location where the bar has lived since 1987 — and at a press conference at 2 p.m. on Thursday, the 15-member collective that has owned and operated the bar since 2016 is likely to say "goodbye for now," as the bar vacates its well-worn home at 9th and Harrison, but there will also likely be some glimmer of hope about a new location in SoMa that has been in the works since 2016.
At the time the collective took over the lease, they were given two years, and they were already thinking about next steps. It seems that COVID-19 has accelerated things due to the lack of ability to pay rent on the current space — even though they currently had a lease that would have taken them through next spring.
Also, next week, on May 31, there will be a drag funeral for The Stud (in this location?), hosted virtually, at 6 p.m.
From 1966 to 1987, The Stud lived at a different location on Folsom Street (where Holy Cow is now), and after different moment in which it almost disappeared, it was revived a few blocks away later that year. Ownership changed in 1996, and again 20 years later, and now here we are.
The release is careful not to say the "location" is closing permanently, and the Bay Area Reporter put out a story suggesting that the bar is forever gone. That still may be the case, ultimately, but the owners will explain things fully as of Thursday afternoon.
Per the release:
The Stud is the country's only cooperatively owned LGBT venue and has been in operation for 55 years. 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.
More to come.
Update: Marke Bieschke, one member of the Stud Collective, writes on 48 Hills that the decision has been made to close this location in order to "save itself for the future." "No, we're not dead," he says. "We've made the choice to become nimble and mobile in an uncertain moment that could last years."
Update 2: Another member of the ownership collective, Honey Mahogany, says they are committed to finding a new location, though they haven't found one yet. They're looking for $500,000 in startup money, and she tells KQED that “everyone who is an owner feels strongly this is not the end of The Stud."