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Esteemed San Francisco gay bar The Stud to reopen in 2024

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help raise funds for the new venue

Outside view of The Stud bar in San Francisco in 2019
Wikimedia Commons/Dreamyshade

Esteemed San Francisco gay bar The Stud is set to reopen in a new location in 2024.

The bar, which originally opened as a country western-themed gay bar in 1966 at 1535 Folsom St, has been shut since the pandemic forced its closure in 2020. Owners The Stud Collective has kept the brand alive, however, by streaming drag events, launching a history podcast and selling merchandise in the years since.

Now, the 15-person collective, who purchased the bar from previous owner Michael McElheney in 2016 and had been looking for a new location, has announced that it has found a new spot and is returning to the South Market area of the city.

The Stud, The San Francisco Chronicle reports, will now sit at 1123-1125 Folsom Street, positioned a few blocks away from its most recent location at 399 Ninth Street where the venue operated from 1987-2020.

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched by The Stud Collective to help pay for renovations and other costs of reopening. The Stud Collective hopes to raise $500,000 by the end of November, with a view to reopening the bar early next year.

Marke Bieschke, co-owner of The Stud and a regular DJ Mag contributor, told Resident Advisor that while talent-booking hasn't started, “we definitely plan on taking advantage of the bigger space to throw some real ragers”.

The new Folsom Street location is double the size of the bar’s previous spot in Ninth Street.

“We intend to keep bringing cutting-edge artists to San Francisco – often for the first time – in an inclusive and freeform environment," Bieschke added. “We're hoping this helps reignite the radical pride that made this such a special place to live and create in.”

The Stud has hosted DJs including Ben UFO, Wata Igarashi, rRoxymore, and Noncompliant over the years.

Bieschke continued: “On a more national and global scale, as the backlash to queer and trans rights continues to threaten our very existence, we hope to shine as a beacon of community and love – not to mention outrageously fun drag and dancing – where LGBTQIA+ people can reach their full expression, find romance, and just be themselves without all the drama and emergency.”

The Stud claims to be the first co-operatively owned LGBTQIA+ venue in the US.

Its latest iteration, as The San Francisco Chronicle added, is expected to incorporate the bar's signature Victorian bar fixtures, coloured glass pendants, bric-a-brac kitsch, and vintage signage. 

Revisit Marke Bieschke's feature for DJ Mag on the fight to preserve San Francisco's gay disco history here.