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Crosscurrents logo 2021

Remembering The Stud: San Francisco's Oldest Gay Bar Loses Its Home

Artists, drag queens, and members of the queer and trans community gathered together to mourn the closing of San Francisco’s oldest LGBT bar, The Stud. 

After more than 50 years, surviving an AIDS epidemic, a few transfers of ownership, and then becoming a worker-owned co-op, it was the forced closure from the COVID-19 pandemic that took its final toll on the club. The funeral offered a chance to celebrate the many people who’d kept this institution alive.

Amidst protests against police brutality over the weekend, owners struggled with whether to postpone the funeral. But, co-owner and drag performer Honey Mahogany said, The Stud has a long history of being a place for all types of people to come together in the face of tragedy:

"You know, back when we had the white night riots, after Harvey milk was killed, folks left the writing, the flipping of police cars, the screaming in the streets and came to The Stud to dance and to let go... They knew it was a safe space because it was a place that felt like home. And so that's what we want to be for folks tonight... So, you know, as queer people, as trans people, we need to remember that. And also stand in solidarity with our black brothers and sisters who are out there fighting for their lives, literally fighting for their lives."

Now that this San Francisco institution is closed we want to bring you back to what it was like and what made it so special. When we visited in 2017, co-owner Vivianne Forevermore said:

"The Stud's history speaks directly to our present in a lot of ways, as queers who just want to be together. And not just be ok and safe together, but be creative and expressive and explosive together"

This story originally aired as part of our Audiograph series in January of 2017.

Audiograph is a project that maps the Bay Area using sound, telling the story of where you live and the people who live there with you.