A Sad Farewell: Club Deluxe and Orbit Room Owner Jay Johnson Has Passed Away


Cocktails and live music at the Deluxe, always a pleasure. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I was not happy to return home to the tragic news in Hoodline that Jay Johnson, the owner of Club Deluxe and the Orbit Room, had passed away at the young age of 61 (screw you, cancer).

The Deluxe has been such a gem for more than 25 years—I remember going there when the swing scene was running hot in the ’90s, drinking too many martinis, and have always appreciated all the quality live music. The Orbit Room was ahead of its time, back when Alberta Straub was one of the first bartenders to be using fresh ingredients in really unique ways. While I have hated the awkward cocktail tables from the beginning, the vintage vibe paid proper homage to the beautiful space.

Sincere condolences to Jay’s family, many friends, co-workers, fellow musicians, and regulars. His contribution to the San Francisco cocktail and nightlife scene was a special one. You can read his obituary here. Happy trails to you.