The economic devastation caused by the coronovairus has left many establishments reeling. Thanks to physical distancing norms, the hospitality sector is the hardest hit, forcing hotels and restaurants to down shutters. The latest to close down is The Stud, one of the oldest LGBT clubs in San Francisco.
The Stud, established in 1966, is America's only cooperatively-owned LGBT club and has been in operation for 55 years now. After taking the decision to close the facility, co-owner Honey Mahogany issued a statement. The statement, obtained by Bay Area Reporter, says lack of revenue due to COVID-19 is the main reason behind the closure decision.
Plans to Relocate?
"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 statement said.
According to ABC7, the possibility of finding another location cannot be completely ruled out, but there is no plan to relocate as of now. The Stud located at 399 9th St. in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood was temporarily closed after lockdown orders were issued in mid-March.
Crisis of 2016 and Tripling of Rent
The Stud ran into financial difficulties in 2016 as there was a huge rent hike. Stud's then-owner, Michael McElhaney, made an announcement that he was placing the venue on the market. The building's owner had died and it was sold to new owners who had tripled the rent. McElhaney expressed his wish to retire and move to Hawaii.
This left The Stud regulars disappointed and they got together to save it from closing. They formed a group of 18 people that included Mahogany, drag performer Vivianne Forevermore!, Rachel Ryan, and local journalist Marke Bieschke, and brought The Stud.
The US has 1.61 million confirmed coronavirus cases with 95,213 deaths. California has the fifth highest number of cases at 86,197 with 3,542 deaths as of May 22. The other four states that have a high number of cases are New York followed by New Jersey, Illinois and Massachusetts.