San Francisco’s Oldest Gay Bar, The Stud, Was Given a Lifeless Beige Paint Job Following Its Closure
Last month, locals and tourists alike were saddened to hear that The Stud SF, San Francisco’s oldest gay bar and a beloved part of the city’s SoMa neighborhood, would be joining the list of permanent bar closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. And while the public has seemingly come to terms with the bar’s abrupt closure — most nightlife venues nationwide are, after all, not currently open due to COVID-19 concerns — local LGBTQ residents were not ready for the beige paint job that was to follow, something many locals consider an ‘erasure’ of the bar’s 50-year-plus history.
On May 31, The Stud SF hosted an “online drag funeral” for the bar, which had lasted 54 years in business, 33 of which were in this building at the corner of 9th and Harrison. “We one hundred percent support the stay-at-home orders. But if we keep paying rent on a building that sits empty, by the end of the pandemic we’ll owe tens of thousands of dollars in debt,” announced managing Owner Rachel Ryan via a press release on the bar’s website. “It breaks our heart to leave our historic home, but at this point we have no other choice.”
SFist remarked that the bar “epitomized everything great and weird about San Francisco,” and I’d say that sums up this queer space quite nicely. Many considered it an icon of the city, and its closure a forceful blow to San Francisco’s cultural, musical and LGBTQ history.
While this closure does not mark the death of The Stud SF — the bar’s collective of local LGBTQ owners hope to find a new location and eventually reopen — many locals felt a real sting when the bar’s new paint job was recently unveiled.
i've never seen a space be erased so quickly. it hasn't even been a month since the stud officially closed. they want us gone so badly.
As you can see in the photo above, what had always been a bright, colorful space for queer expression — outside as well as inside — has been treated to the most lifeless, beige paint job imaginable. Many have used the word “erased” to sum up how they feel.
The above side-by-side photo comparison has been shared extensively on social media, with most reactions expressing sadness and anger. “I’ve never seen a space be erased so quickly. It hasn’t even been a month since the stud officially closed. They want us gone so badly,” said one San Francisco local. And others: “I’m so angry it hurts.” “That makes me so sad.” “To see it look like this is such a spit in the face.”
But in true San Francisco spirit, The Stud SF wouldn’t stay beige for long. Armed with black and pink paint, someone has ‘spruced up’ the building’s lifeless wood and concrete walls with a message for the times. The building has been tagged with the phrases “Black Lives Matter” and “We Will Not Be Erased,” accompanied by a Pink Triangle.
Check out The Stud SF’s latest paint job here (photos courtesy of Randy Maupin):
There’s no telling how long the building’s current “Black Lives Matter” and “We Will Not Be Erased” messages will last, or when the building could be transformed back into an expressionless coffin. Only one thing is clear, particularly in the minds of locals who formerly called this space a second home: The Stud SF — a historical landmark and icon of local LGBTQ culture and artistry — deserves better than a lifeless beige paint job.
Do you have any favorite memories from The Stud SF? We want to hear them? Tag @hornet on Instagram and Twitter.
Featured image at top courtesy of the Stud SF website