Most — but not all — of San Francisco's nightlife scene has come back open in the last several months, now that people can be indoors without capacity limits so long as they're vaccinated. But among the Castro institutions that's stayed dark is The Cafe. That all changes this weekend.
As announced on the club's website and its Facebook, Thursday, September 30 marks the kickoff of The Cafe's reopening weekend. Things start with the weekly Latin night Picante, featuring DJ Adrian and SF-based nonbinary performer Frida Mont. And, as at all nightclubs in the city, proof of vaccination is required at the door, and you're asked to wear masks when entering, using the facilities, and when ordering at the bar.
The Cafe had only been back open following a mid-2019 remodel for a few months when the pandemic forced it closed again last March. With its large capacity, the Cafe was one of several nightclubs in the Castro that had to close days ahead of other bars in the area, along with Badlands, Toad Hall, and Beaux.
The owners didn't cite any reasons for the delay in reopening, but vaguely announced back in July that it would be happening soon, as Hoodline reported.
As a nightclub, The Cafe dates back to 1976, when the space opened as The Cafe San Marcos — which had a small first-floor restaurant that would later be occupied by Bisou. The current incarnation of the club, which has undergone several remodels, dates back to an ownership change in 1992, and it has long included two partially enclosed outdoor patios, as well as a pool table, two bars, and a multi-level dancefloor.
The new slate of weekly weekend parties includes a Friday night party featuring EDM, dark pop, and hip hop; and a Saturday party with DJ Deft and special guests that you can count on having a lot of pop music. Most of the venue's parties have cover charges of $5 or $10, but those aren't currently being advertised.
On Sunday, October 3, longtime SF promoter Gus Bean is throwing a Castro Street Fair tea-dance afterparty at The Cafe called Sweet Tea, featuring DJ Kimberly S. That kicks off at 5 p.m., with a $10 cover.
Elsewhere in the Castro, nightclub-wise, Beaux has been back and fully open since mid-June, and Toad Hall has reopened as well. Badlands has remained closed after announcing a permanent closure last year, but rumor has it it may still reopen under a new name.
Q Bar on Castro Street remains dark following a November 2019 fire that also damaged the retail space next door. It has also vowed to reopen.
Downstairs from The Cafe, both the Bisou space and the former Subway restaurant remain vacant.
Photo of the Cafe following its mid-2019 remodel, courtesy of The Cafe