The Stud (bar)

The Stud is a gay bar located in South of Market, San Francisco. It was started by associates George Matson and Richard Conroy on May 27, 1966.[1] According to George Matson it was a "bar for people, not just pretty bodies".[1] Originally the Stud was located at the western end of Folsom Street and in 1987 moved to its current location at Ninth Street and Harrison Street.[1][2] The Stud is known for their themed parties, drag and burlesque shows, and community events.[3] It was also home of the famous Trannyshack, a weekly drag show that featured all different types of drag and drag stars from 1996 until 2008.

History and ownership

The Stud was originally started by George Mason and Richard Conroy in 1966. In the early '70s, George sold his half to Richard. Richard 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.[1] 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.[1] LaRue died in the 1990s due to complications from HIV/AIDS.[1] Ben "Fiesta" Guibord died in 2011, at the age of 63, also due to complications from HIV/AIDS.[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.[6] This organizing resulted in the formation of a collective of nightlife professionals, which bought the business from Michael McElheney.[7] Members of the collective include artists, DJs, and performers such as Honey Mahogany, Siobhan Aluvalot, Kelly Lovemonster, and Mark O'Brien.[8] 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."[6][7]

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.[2] South of Market became the hub of the leather subculture in the gay community in 1962 when the Tool Box opened its doors as the first leather bar in the neighborhood.[2] When the Stud, along with Febe's, opened up on Folsom Street in 1966, other bars and establishments catering to this subculture followed creating a foundation for the growing leather community.[2] The Stud and the other establishments in this neighborhood created a safe space for those who identify as LGBTQ to gather, be themselves, and create a community.[9]

The Stud is part of the Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District.


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.[10] In 2008 Trannyshack ended its run at the Stud.[10]


  1. Freeman, M. (1994). The Stud: A Dreamspace for Queer Angels. The Bay Area Reporter.
  2. Brook, J., Carlsson, C., and Peters, N. J. (1998). Reclaiming San Francisco: history, politics, culture. San Francisco: City Lights
  3. "About". The Stud.
  4. Barmann, Jay (2017-06-22). "Photo(s) Du Jour: The Stud's Rad New Mural". SFist. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  5. Laird, C. (September 29, 2011). "Memorial Sunday for Stud co-owner Benjamin Guibord". The Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  6. 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.
  7. Kane, P. (February 15, 2017). "How the Stud was saved". SFWeekly. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  8. "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. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  9. Achilles, Nancy. (1967). "The Development of the Homosexual Bar as an Institution". In Gagnon, John H. and William Simon. New York: Harper & Row.
  10. 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)

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