The Stud, SoMa's longest-running gay bar, is fighting to stay in place at the corner of Ninth and Harrison.
The bar's current owner, Michael McElhaney, held a meeting Sunday evening to break the news to the community: After 50 years in SoMa, a massive rent increase set for September is threatening the future of the iconic bar.
According to 48 Hills' recap of the discussion, the Stud's current building, which dates to 1908, was recently sold to an undisclosed buyer. After negotiations with the new owner, rent was set at $9,500/month, three times higher than McElhaney previously paid.
At the same time, McElhaney announced that he's decided to retire, to be with his aging mother back home in Hawaii.
But all may not be lost for The Stud. Mica Sigourney (a.k.a. VivvyAnne Forevermore!), who hosts The Stud's Friday-night Club Some Thing events, is leading the charge to organize a coalition of new owners.
"In less then 24 hours, a group of experienced drag queens, queer promoters, performers, businesspeople, and politicos have come together to form a co-op to purchase the Stud," Sigourney said yesterday via the newly formed "SOS! Save Our Stud!!!" Facebook group. "Our goal is to continue as the Stud in its current location, as a queer performance venue and nightclub."
But some changes are "inevitable," Sigourney warned. "The business models that worked in the past are going to have to be reimagined and matured. We're going to have to grow as a community, stake out new spaces, push our boundaries, and innovate."
Two pieces of legislation may help the co-op's efforts: The Stud's building could be eligible for historical preservation status, and the voter-approved Legacy Business Registry program may be able to help shave a couple thousand dollars off the rent, 48 Hills noted.
While the co-op irons out potential takeover plans, Sigourney encouraged fans of The Stud to continue patronizing the bar, which is still open Tuesdays through Sundays. Those who want to get involved with the co-op should reach out to [email protected]