The Stud, San Francisco's oldest gay bar, permanently closes location due to COVID-19

San Francisco's oldest gay bar, The Stud, announces its permanent closure due to COVID-19.

San Francisco's oldest gay bar, The Stud, announced Wednesday it will permanently close its current location due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The 55-year-old drag and punk bar with a strong leather lineage, has been a South of Market District mainstay and a touchstone for LGBTQ+ nightlife and culture. The bar cited lack of revenue as the reason for the closure of its current space.  

The historic bar has been at its 9th and Harrison location since 1987 and has recently had to fight to stay alive in a rapidly gentrifying city when its rent was tripled in 2016. 

The bar's owner at the time got out of the business, which gave way to a new era as The Stud became the country's only cooperatively-owned LGBTQ+ venue. 

Honey Maghogany, one of the bar's 17 co-owners and a RuPaul's Drag Race alum, hinted towards some optimism. "We've known that we had to move and we've been looking," Mahogany said. "Nothing has been finalized."

San Francisco's oldest gay bar, The Stud, announces its permanent closure due to COVID-19.

Pre-pandemic, the bar appeared to be quite successful and stable with lines of decorated patrons regularly wrapped around the outside of the building socializing and waiting to get inside.

Nights like Drag Alive, Princess, the long-running monthly Go Bang!, and Honey Soundsystem DJs drew regular crowds. 

Pivot to Thursday where official announcements will be made during a 2 p.m. Zoom news conference with bar supporters State Sen. Scott Wiener and SF Supervisor Matt Haney on hand, along with drag performer and co-owner Vivianne Forevermore! and the bar's general manager Rachel Ryan. They will clarify the bar's future during this uncertain time. 

"The Stud Collective will not end - it will become mobile, with the hope of finding a new space when things settle down," Sen. Wiener tweeted late Wednesday. He pointed out that the bar survived HIV and the cost of real estate and that these "sacred spaces" need to be protected. 

Sadly, patrons will have to pay their last respects to the current space on Twitch, when a "drag funeral" will be held on May 31, Mahogany said. The Stud, like every other bar in the city, had to shutter its physical space mid-March due to the shelter-in-place order. 

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