Landmark gay sex club Blow Buddies (933 Harrison St.), which has operated out of a nondescript SoMa storefront since 1988, will not reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The club was created in response to one virus and done in by another," Blow Buddies writes in a message on its website, alluding to the fact it was able to weather the ravages of the AIDS crisis, but not COVID-19.
Blow Buddies operated as a membership- and cover-based venue, with all the furnishings of a well-appointed bathhouse.
It had already shown signs of potential trouble last March, when its building went on the market for $3.5 million. Records show that it sold last August for a little less than that: $2.85 million.
According to a 2019 real estate listing for the property, Blow Buddies' monthly rent was $13,200, which the previous property owner believed was "below market rate." Prior to the pandemic, its lease was set to end in April 2021.
The club is a cornerstone of SoMa's queer and leather bar scene for both locals and out-of-towners, and its closure marks the end of a major chapter for San Francisco's LGBTQ+ nightlife.
One thing is certain: it likely won't become an apartment building or tech office, which has been the fate of many SoMa warehouses.
Due to zoning restrictions, the building cannot be used to construct market-rate housing, hotels or offices; it can only be used for light-industrial manufacturing or affordable housing.
We've reached out to Blow Buddies' owners to learn more about the closure, and will update this story if we get more information.
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