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Holy Cow Has Closed Down

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Alas, San Francisco’s most famous bovine themed nightclub is no more. The giant pink cow, with a nipple ring in its utter, that’s been hanging outside of 1535 Folsom Street since 1987, has finally been retired.

In its place will be a new club called Eve and from what I gather it will be run by the same people. All they’ve really told me is in the text message below:

I’ve texted them again and have yet to learn any more information about the new club unfortunately.

That said, I’m not terribly sad to see Holy Cow go. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for over a decade and up until Covid, people would come from all over the Bay Area to party at Holy Cow, and then fight outside my house. I can’t tell you how many times I had to hear “Hold me back bro!” being yelled outside my window by some jerk off I saw waiting in line to get into Holy Cow earlier that night.

As you can see, the cow is gone, the building is painted, and there’s a sign up that says “Eve”

That said, it seems Holy Cow wasn’t always this way, and the cow itself wasn’t always pink. In fact I remember it being leopard print back in the day, and at one point it was even, gasp…cow print.

I did a little digging and found out a bit of history about the place.

Holy Cow has been a mainstay in SoMa since it first opened its doors in 1987. But before that, it was the original location of the Stud (sadly RIP).

I was lucky enough to stumble on this FB page created by Gary Bossier, one of Holy Cow’s founders, and in it he explains the how the bar got it’s name:

Alexis was left with a Bar and and decided to open it up again after The Stud moved out. It was this night that Alexis asked me what’s the opposite of a stud. It was then that I saw a painting on the wall of a Cow with a halo.
I said HOLY COW! That became the name. Alexis said we will hang a cow and put a neon halo above the bovine.The Holy Cow was born.
The Alexis mentioned here is Alexis Muir, a transwoman who cofounded the Stud in 1966 with George Mason and owned the building. She was a big part of SF nightlife back in the day.
There are some really great pictures of Holy Cow from the 80s and 90s right here. It’s cool to see the bar was fairly cowpoke themed when it opened. Look at all the woodwork in this pic of the original pool room:
To give you an idea of how different a place Holy Cow was when it opened, compared what it was like when it closed, there’s a caption on one of the pics that says “Original Holy Cow Door. We never hired bouncers or security .1987. We hired Artists, musicians and socialites.”
Regardless, I wish Eve lots of luck and hopefully it will be more like the Holy Cow from the days of yore, and less like its most recent incarnation.
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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website BrokeAssStuart.com is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, Geek.com and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

4 Comments

  1. Vegan Nickolas
    August 24, 2022 at 1:01 pm — Reply

    All that matters is, what the fuck is going to happen to the cow?

    • Emporer Whoreton
      August 25, 2022 at 12:57 pm — Reply

      It looks like they relocated it to the “back patio.”

      • Lisa
        August 26, 2022 at 7:03 pm

        The Holy Cow! My very first bartending job. I was just days a way from complete bartending school program.
        I loved the energy and awesome music. The guests were diverse and the workers were my friends.
        Good times?..

  2. Bruce
    August 25, 2022 at 4:00 am — Reply

    Happy memories of when Honey Soundsystem had a residency there on Sunday nights.

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