Ugh, I don’t even know where to begin, but when I heard the owner of THE STUD, Michael McElhaney, was calling an emergency meeting just after the bar celebrated 50 years of gloriously letting its freak flag fly, my heart dropped. These are the moments when it’s hard to be so far away. Fortunately the city has its lifeline, Marke Bieschke, reporting on all the action for 48 Hills.
The bad news: the rent has tripled, and McElhaney, who purchased the bar in 1996, needs to sell the bar and wants to return to Hawaii to take care of his aging mother. At the meeting, McElhaney shared: “I found out a couple weeks ago that the building had been put in escrow to be sold. That comes just as our lease is up for negotiation, now with the new owners. In two months, our rent will be almost tripled, to $9,500. For us as a small cabaret-type club, that is inconceivable. We just can’t do it with the way things are now.” So, yeah, we have two months to figure it out.
The good news: there is currently a co-op forming (spearheaded by Mica Sigourney aka VivvyAnne ForeverMore!) of friends of the bar, promoters, and performers who want to buy it (and its valuable liquor license). Here’s hoping it doesn’t need to move locations, because the patina of that bar is a big part of its voodoo. (The Stud has been in its current location since 1987 and was previously where the Holy Cow is now.) City supes are talking about how to help save the business, and there’s also discussion about adding it as a Legacy Business. In the meantime, if you are wondering what you can do to help, please join the Facebook group, Save Our Stud, for updates. There will be images and T-shirts to buy and other fundraising efforts posted soon. Please go to the bar, go dance, buy drinks, and show it support in these next couple of months.
The Stud is an integral part of San Francisco’s crazy quilt, a place where you could always come as you are and meet kind people, fun people, and unforgettable people, and have a strong drink. So many people have so many memories there—and there is such deep history for the queer community. I have been tearing it up on that dance floor from when I first moved to SF in 1994, from Sugar to Trannyshack to Go Bang (it’s on first Saturdays, just so you know), and even co-hosted a New Year’s Eve night there in 2004. It is one of my favorite places in the city, one that is undeniably San Franciscan, and where I always send visitors to the city (well, except my older Italian relatives). It’s an irreplaceable queer space, performance space, and gathering space. I really can’t imagine SF without it. The city might implode, so don’t risk it. Let’s see this one through, okay? See you there. 399 9th St. at Harrison.
Dive bar fans will not be happy with the news that MR. BING’S on the border of North Beach and Chinatown has been sold and is closing as we know it. The new owners are reportedly behind Ireland’s 32 in the Inner Richmond. A bartender reported that it looks like it will be closed for renovations and will possibly be reopening as an Irish bar. It sounds like Mr. Bing’s will be closing in a week or so, so go get your last beer and a shot while you can and soak in the deep dive bar-ness. (Via Hoodline.) 201 Columbus Ave. at Pacific.
And one more update for my fellow dance floor denizens: we posted awhile ago that it looked like the owners of Monarch were taking over MIGHTY, and it ends up they quietly took over on May 1st and have been running it as Mighty since. The new name is going to be GREAT NORTHERN, and according to a club flyer, the last party at Mighty will be Saturday July 30th before it closes for an impending remodel. We’ll keep you updated on anything we hear about Great Northern. Thanks for all the great nights and bumping tunes, Sean Manchester and Mighty crew! You always had such a nice staff too. Cheers. 119 Utah St. at 15th St., 415-626-7001.