A crowd watches a performance at The Stud Bar’s 50th anniversary party in 2016. (Rachel Garner/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Historic Stud Bar set to shut down after more than 50 years in SoMa

Co-owner says collective to operate as virtual and mobile venue until it can reopen in new space

The Stud, San Francisco’s oldest gay bar and performance space, appears to be the latest victim of the coronavirus.

In an announcement sent out Wednesday evening, the famed South of Market venue’s management announced that it will be closing down its physical location after 54 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,” the outlet said in a statement.

According to a statement posted by Marke Bieschke, co-owner of The Stud and publisher and arts editor of 48 Hills, The Stud is closing its physical location but plans to continue operating as a virtual and mobile entity with the eventual goal of reopening a permanent location.

“The Stud, the nightlife entity, is not dead. We’re still going to come back when this is over—a different space with the same lovingly outrageous vibe,” Bieschke said in an article on 48 Hills posted Wednesday evening.

Only four years ago, the Stud was in peril due to a steep rent hike.

It survived, however, after a group of performers, bartenders, drag queens and LGBT business people banded together to form a collective and work with then-Supervisor Jane Kim to save the venue.

The group will hold a press conference Thursday afternoon and plans to hold a “drag funeral” on May 31.

Editor’s note: This story was updated with additional information.

ATK performs a pole routine at The Stud Bar’s 50th anniversary party. (Rachel Garner/Special to S.F. Examiner)

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