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Hooray! SF’s Oldest Queer Bar Gets a New Lease Extension

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The Stud has been a touchstone of queer culture in San Francisco for 52 years and now that the iconic bar has been given a lease extension, it looks like they’ll be keeping the party going for at least another two.

The venue has survived ownership, location and financial changes that would, and does, tank most businesses, but the Stud’s resilience is a testament to the heart of the queer community it helped solidify over half a decade ago.

The original location of The Stud on Folsom Street. Photo courtesy of Mark H Freeman

When rent was drastically increased in 2016, then owner Michael McElheney foresaw the struggle ahead and decided to retire at that point. Who can blame him, really? But the community itself was having none of that. Too much had already gone the way of gentrifiers and too much of what makes San Francisco great was at stake.

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A group of artists, performers and DJs stepped up to the plate and formed what is now known as the Stud Collective. The newly formed organization pulled together and purchased The Stud from McElheney in December 2016, saving the bar from going down as just one more slice of history lost. What was initially a guttural response to the barreling end times train “has become world-renowned as a model for how endangered queer spaces can be revived and flourish,” as noted in the collective’s celebratory press release issued Wednesday.

Scene from inside The Stud in 1991. Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Although the search continues for the third and “permanent” home, the collective is more than happy to take these next two years to the next level at the 399 Ninth Street location.

To celebrate, The Stud is adding more wild and wonderful rides to their lineup of wildly successful techno, karaoke and disco parties. New events listed below will be sprinkled in throughout the week to keep studs of all flavors happy:

DRAG ALIVE: A weekly Friday evening cavalcade of drag, burlesque, and other hijinks, hosted by VivvyAnne ForeverMore. 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.

QTEASE: Queer burlesque happy hour, hosted by the legendary Red Bone, every Saturday at 6 p.m.

AWOOGA!: Every First Thursday, a variety show showcasing the avant-garde elements of the queer community, plus dancing all night with hosts John F*cking Cartwright and Kochina Rude. 10 p.m.-late.

XO: A wild monthly dance party party (first Fridays) that welcomes everyone and centers women. 10 p.m.-3 a.m.

OTHER STRANGER: Every third Friday, this party showcases cutting-edge underground electronic sounds, featuring some of the most intriguing players on the scene. 10 p.m.-3 a.m.

SPELLBOUND: Witchiness abounds every fourth Sunday with dark romantic jams from DJs Stephen Quinones and Siobhan Aluvalot.

SUNDAY SITUATION: Every first Sunday, legendary New York DJ Rich King lifts spirits at this afternoon tea dance. 5 p.m.-late.

Queer or not, this is a huge win if you are at all a fan of preserving the essence and history of this crazy, beautiful city. So, grab your favorite stud and head down to the bar that has stood and stood up to the test of time.

Cheers to The Stud, and to another 50 years!

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.