The Stud, often referred to as "the Stonewall of San Francisco," celebrated 50 years in business just last week. Now, owner Michael McElhaney says the SoMa club will be forced to shutter after a 300 percent rent increase. At a community meeting on Saturday, McElhaney announced that the bar’s building is in escrow, and the bar’s rent will triple in September to $9,500.
Originally from Hawaii, McElhaney took over the club with partner Ben Fiesta (who died in 2011), in 1996. Since then the club has been the scene of vibrant weekly parties like Trannyshack and Sugar in the late ‘90s, and more recently Go Bang, Dark Room, and Some Thing. But coupled with his aging mother’s health, McElhaney said that he will be forced to sell the bar and return to Hawaii.
Following the news, fans and friends of the bar created a co-op with plans to buy the bar and its liquor license. That may mean that it will still be forced to move locations (for the third time, following the 1987 move to its current location from what is now Holy Cow). The effort is led by Mica Sigourney (also known as VivvyAnne ForeverMore!, and host of Clube Some Thing), according to 48 Hills. City supervisors are also in on the effort to save The Stud, joining the meeting to discuss The Stud’s potential inclusion on the Legacy Business Registry Fund, which would snag grant money and possible relocation assistance.
In a facebook post, Mica Sigourney wrote:
"There will be change. It’s inevitable. The business models that worked in the past are going to have to be reimagined and matured. We're going to have to grow as a community, stake out new spaces, push our boundaries, and innovate.
In less then 24 hours a group of experienced drag queens, queer promoters, performers, business people, and politico, have come together to form a Co-op to purchase the Stud. Our goal is to continue as the Stud in its current location, as a queer performance venue and nightclub.
Saving our Stud is possible -- but we can't do this without you. We're going to need your outrage, your care, your time, your money, and most importantly your patronage.
We'll have updates soon as the Co-op has time to fully lay out are plan. In the mean time, please spread the word about our efforts to Save Our Stud. Also GO TO THE STUD! The bar is open and will be for at least the next two months. This is the time to show up and be together in place that is there for you." (See the full post here.)
So in the meantime, head over to The Stud to show support, dance your face off, and let your freak flag fly for all of San Francisco to see.