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The Stud (bar)

Coordinates: 37°46′34″N 122°24′30″W / 37.77613°N 122.40843°W / 37.77613; -122.40843
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The Stud
The Stud in 2019
Address1123 Folsom Street
San Francisco
Coordinates37°46′34″N 122°24′30″W / 37.77613°N 122.40843°W / 37.77613; -122.40843
TypeGay bar
OpenedMay 27, 1966
Years active57 years in business (not continuously; has been closed before)

The Stud is a gay bar currently located on 1123 Folsom Street in San Francisco.[1][2]

It was started by associates George Matson and Alexis Muir (Muir was a transgender woman then known as Richard Conroy) on May 27, 1966.[3][4] According to George Matson, it was a "bar for people, not just pretty bodies".[3] Originally, the Stud was located at 1535 Folsom Street; in 1987, it moved to Ninth and Harrison Streets.[3][5]

The Stud closed in May 2020, due to financial troubles stemming from a shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic;[6][7][8] however, the Stud reopened on April 20, 2024, on 1123 Folsom Street.[1][2]

History and ownership

This mural was painted on The Stud in 2017 by Xara Thustra and collaborators Monica Caniao and You Go Girl[9]

The Stud was originally started by George Mason and Alexis Muir in 1966. (Alexis Muir was a transgender woman then known as Richard Conroy; her surname Muir may be a reference to John Muir, who was her great-uncle.)[4] In the early 1970s, George sold his half to Alexis. Alexis then sold it to Jerry "Trixie" Jones, Heidi Steffan, and Jan Hill. Jerry "Trixie" Jones was also a partial owner of Hamburger Mary's, an iconic gay restaurant, across the street. In 1974, the Stud was bought out by Jim "Edie" Fleckenstein.[3] Edie died in 1994, leaving the Stud to his partner and resident DJ Larry Holloway aka LaRue and his accountant Ben "Fiesta" Guibord. They then partnered up with Michael McElheney.[3] LaRue died in the 1990s due to complications from HIV/AIDS.[3] Ben "Fiesta" Guibord died in 2011, at the age of 63, also due to complications from HIV/AIDS.[10]

Originally, the Stud was located at 1535 Folsom Street; in 1987, it moved to Ninth and Harrison Streets.[3][5] In the summer of 2016, the Stud was given a very large rent increase and Michael McElheney decided it was time to retire. When the bar was faced with closure, members of the local community began to organize in hopes of preserving the historic bar.[11] This organizing resulted in the formation of a collective of nightlife professionals, which bought the business from Michael McElheney.[12] Members of the collective include artists, DJs, and performers such as Honey Mahogany, Siobhan Aluvalot, Vivvyanne Forevermore, and Rachel Ryan.[13] The collective took ownership of the Stud on December 30, 2016, making it, according to collective member Nate Allbee, "the very first co-op nightclub in the United States."[11][12]

The Stud closed in May 2020, due to financial troubles stemming from a shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic;[6][7][8] however, the Stud reopened on April 20, 2024, on 1123 Folsom Street.[1][2]

South of Market gay culture in the 1960s and the Stud's significance


In the 1960s, San Francisco's primarily gay areas were Polk Street, the Tenderloin district, and South of Market.[5] South of Market became the hub of the leather subculture in the gay community in 1961 when the gay bar the Tool Box opened its doors as the first leather bar in the neighborhood.[14][5] When the Stud, along with Febe's, opened up on Folsom Street in 1966, other gay leather bars and establishments catering to this subculture followed creating a foundation for the growing gay leather community.[5] The Stud and the other establishments in this neighborhood created a safe space for gay people to gather, be themselves, and create a community.[15] The Stud was also originally a Hell's Angels hangout; by 1969 it had become a dance bar for hippies on the margins of the leather scene and had a psychedelic black light mural by Chuck Arnett.



One of San Francisco's longest running drag shows, Trannyshack, was started in 1996 by Heklina, a well known San Francisco drag queen. Many famous drag queens and celebrities graced the stage at Trannyshack, including many contestants from RuPaul's Drag Race and RuPaul himself. Due to controversy over the use of the word "tranny", the show's name was called into question, prompting Heklina to end it and rebrand.[16] In 2008, Trannyshack ended its run at the Stud.[16]



Alexis Muir, a cofounder and former owner, was honored in 2017 along with other notables, named on bronze bootprints, as part of San Francisco South of Market Leather History Alley.[17][18]

The Stud is part of the Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors established the district with legislation signed into law by the mayor on May 9, 2018.[19][20] A ribbon cutting was held on June 12 that year outside the Stud.[21][22][23][24][20]


  1. ^ a b c "About". The Stud.
  2. ^ a b c "The Stud's return: historic bar's triumphant third time's a charm :: Bay Area Reporter".
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Freeman, M. (1994). The Stud: A Dreamspace for Queer Angels. The Bay Area Reporter.
  4. ^ a b "Healdsburg Tribune, Enterprise and Scimitar 21 November 1977 — California Digital Newspaper Collection". Cdnc.ucr.edu. 1977-11-21. Retrieved 2019-12-30.
  5. ^ a b c d e Brook, J., Carlsson, C., and Peters, N. J. (1998). Reclaiming San Francisco: history, politics, culture. San Francisco: City Lights
  6. ^ a b "2020". The Stud.
  7. ^ a b Kost, By Ryan. "The Stud to permanently close its SoMa bar location due to coronavirus losses".
  8. ^ a b https://www.npr.org/2020/05/22/861202518/the-oldest-queer-bar-in-san-francisco-closes-its-doors
  9. ^ Barmann, Jay (2017-06-22). "Photo(s) Du Jour: The Stud's Rad New Mural". SFist. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  10. ^ Laird, C. (September 29, 2011). "Memorial Sunday for Stud co-owner Benjamin Guibord". The Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Kukura, J. (December 7, 2016). "The Stud Announces New Two-Year Lease, And Plans To Move To New Location After That" Archived 2017-05-09 at the Wayback Machine. SFist. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Kane, P. (February 15, 2017). "How the Stud was saved". SFWeekly. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  13. ^ "The Stud Is Saved, For Now, As 15-Member Co-Op Secures Funds To Purchase Historic Club: SFist". SFist - San Francisco News, Restaurants, Events, & Sports. 2016-08-04. Archived from the original on 2022-12-06. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  14. ^ "Leather History Timeline-Leather Archives". Leatherarchives.org. Archived from the original on 2012-04-21. Retrieved 2012-05-18.
  15. ^ Achilles, Nancy. (1967). "The Development of the Homosexual Bar as an Institution". In Gagnon, John H. and William Simon. New York: Harper & Row.
  16. ^ a b Barmann, J. (May 21, 2014). "SF Institution Trannyshack Changing Name Amid PC Pressure" Archived 2017-03-26 at the Wayback Machine. SFist. Retrieved (April 20, 2017)
  17. ^ "Ringold Alley's Leather Memoir". Public Art and Architecture. 2017-07-17. Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  18. ^ Paull, Laura (2018-06-21). "Honoring gay leather culture with art installation in SoMa alleyway". J. JWeekly.com. Retrieved 2019-11-23.
  19. ^ "File #: 171019". Sfgov.legistar.com. City and County of San Francisco. Retrieved 2019-12-30.
  20. ^ a b Sabatini, Joshua (2018-05-02). "SF expands cultural districts to include SoMa's gay and leather community". The San Francisco Examiner. Archived from the original on 2019-03-14. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  21. ^ "Victory Party for Leather & LGBTQ Cultural District". The Stud. 12 June 2018. Retrieved 2019-12-30.
  22. ^ Brenden Shucart (2018-07-31). "Protecting Queer Spaces". The Fight Magazine. Retrieved 2019-12-30.
  23. ^ Highleyman, Liz (2018-06-13). "Leather cultural district cuts ribbon". Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 2019-12-30.
  24. ^ "Leather Community Celebrates Designated District At This Year's SF Pride". CBS SF Bay Area. 2018-05-24. Retrieved 2018-06-24.