Aunt Charlie’s Lounge Will Close In August Without Your Help
It could be curtains for the last remaining LGBTQ+ bar in the Tenderloin, and it will be without community support. Aunt Charlie’s Lounge at Turk and Taylor Streets prides itself as being the “last queen standing” in what used the be the gayborhood of the Tenderloin, but a June 1 Facebook post brings the shocking news that Aunt Charlie’s Lounge will have to close on August 1 if they don’t get a show of financial support from the community that has loved the place so for the last 33 years.
“Aunt Charlie’s Lounge is the Tenderloin’s last drag bar, a historical landmark, and a symbol of the city’s vital queer and trans culture,” says the Save Aunt Charlie’s GoFundMe. “The business closed its doors in March due to COVID-19. Without your financial support, Aunt Charlie’s will not survive and will close for good on August 1st.”
We’ve always considered Aunt Charlie’s Lounge the best drag queen dive bar in the world, with the legendary party Tubesteak Connection hosted by DJ Bus Station John. The club has also hosted (before shelter-in-place) the weekend drag show The Hot Boxxx Girls every Friday and Saturday, a show founded by the late Vicki Marlane, for whom that block of Turk Street is now renamed. We simply cannot let this history slip away.
“It is a multigenerational queer space that serves vulnerable populations like longtime survivors of the HIV/AIDS epidemic with immunodeficiencies,” drag show host DJ Miles Cooper told SFGate. “The street Aunt Charlie’s resides on was renamed Vicki Mar Lane to honor the trans icon who performed in Aunt Charlie’s and gave us so much life. We can’t let that street become a ghost and a shell of a once-vibrant scene for the queer and trans communities.”
It’s Pride Month, people, which is easy to forget considering the combined nightmares of widespread police brutality and the crippling spread of COVID-19. But it would be an even bigger nightmare to lose Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, and essentially, gay culture iunthe Tenderloin itself. The Aunt Charlie’s Lounge GoFundMe is almost at $60,000 in a mere three days, but still needs your help to keep this irreplaceable institution alive and kick-stepping.