The different economics of having a bar mostly for women

Yesterday it was revealed via Facebook that the Lexington Club is closing.

In a followup Q&A with 48 Hills, owner Lila Thirkield expands on her reasons for shutting down the iconic Mission bar. Here’s a doozy:

Another real issue is economic gender inequality. Why is there only one lesbian bar when there are so many gay male bars? Even if you take queerness out of it, women make less money than men and a two male household is going to have more capital potential to start a business than a two female household. How many bars or restaurants do you see being run by women? So few. And that’s just the supply side. Because women have less disposable income and consume less than men, the spending power isn’t the same when you are talking about having a bar for mostly women.

Read on for lots more.

[Photo by Lexington Club on Instagram]

The Lexington Club is closing

Owner Lila Thirkield published this letter this afternoon on Facebook:

To My Dear Community –

It is with a heavy heart, great thought and consideration that I have made the very difficult decision to sell The Lexington Club.

Eighteen years ago I opened The Lex to create a space for the dykes, queers, artists, musicians and neighborhood folks who made up the community that surrounded it. Eighteen years later, I find myself struggling to run a neighborhood dyke bar in a neighborhood that has dramatically changed. A few years back my rent was raised to market rate, and though it was difficult, we seemed to weather it at first. But as the neighborhood continued to change, we began to see sales decline, and they continued to do so. We tried new concepts, different ways of doing things, but we were struggling. When a business caters to about 5% of the population, it has tremendous impact when 1% of them leave. When 3% or 4% of them can no longer afford to live in the neighborhood, or the City, it makes the business model unsustainable.

Please know that if I thought The Lexington Club could be saved, I would not be writing this. I understand what a huge loss this is to the community. It is difficult and painful to lose our queer spaces. However, my faith in queer San Francisco still runs deep. It is the best place in the world and dykes and queers are still an integral part of this city. They always will be. I have spent the better part of my adult life facilitating and creating community among dykes and queers in SF and I will not stop. The Lexington Club had an incredible eighteen-year run. It will forever live on in my heart, as I’m sure it will for many of you. To all who were a part of it – thank you for your contribution to a great chapter in San Francisco and a great chapter in my own life. And, of course, a huge thank you to my amazing staff. We made some incredible memories, and we will make more.

Lila Thirkield (Lexington)

[link] (Thanks, Jess.)

[Photo by Lexington Club on Instagram]

A Drama Talk & Drinks special: The future of SF nightlife

Ignoring The Space Between Windows
[file photo by Ariel]

As a passionate theater and event-goer, Brittany went to a forum on the future of SF’s nightlife amid recent closings due to economic and cultural shifts in the city, as well as neighbor complaints. Here’s her report:

Empty Sign
[file photo by Ariel]

People are moving into cities for a reason. We endure small apartments, high prices and the discomfort of living on top of each other to gain access to the inspiration and entertainment that comes with being surrounded by crazy creative people. Arts and culture are the lifeblood of what makes any city unique, particularly San Francisco.

I review theater here because I want to shine a light on one element of what makes our city so great (even if I don’t always love what I see). So when I heard CMAC (California Music and Culture Association) was hosting a “Supervisor Nightlife and Entertainment Forum” allowing Supervisor candidates to “discuss their visions for the future of nightlife and culture in San Francisco.” I wanted to hear what they had to say.

Something About The Elbo Room
[file photo by Ariel]

With the SF Bay Guardian closing announcement happening earlier in the day, the conversation about what will happen to SF if our arts and culture can’t make the rent seemed more urgent than ever. Which is why it was disconcerting that only three candidates — Supervisor Scott Weiner, Supervisor Jane Kim, and Juan-Antonio Carballo — out of six who were invited to participate even made it to the event.

(more…)

Deal of the day

<3 Bender’s

[Photo by Morgan, via It's Always Sunny in San Francisco]

Former Pop’s employee voices criticism of new Pop’s

Tuffy, a former Pop’s employee and longtime Mission Mission commenter, regarding our photos of opening night at the new Pop’s, has this to say:

Pop’s is open!

It feels a lot like Pop’s, but it smells a whole lot better and the bathrooms are clean. It’s definitely true to the vision co-owner Spike put forth in our lengthy Q&A with him from last December. Had a great time!

Here’s the menu:

It opens at 3pm today fyi!

Also, the photobooth gives you two copies of your strip AND emails you another:

Pop’s will have live music and DJs!

Excellent news! Remember how sad we all were when Pop’s got busted for doing DJ nights under the radar? Such a bummer!

But a new era is about to begin. Mission Local reports:

The historic bar’s new owner, Michael Krouse, who also owns Madrone on Divisadero, applied for a permit to have a full entertainment license, meaning the bar could legally offer its patrons live bands and DJs. With some conditions, the commission unanimously approved the change of use.

“Pop’s Bar has been around for 79 years, and through 11 owners; our goal is to continue that tradition of a great neighborhood bar,” said Krouse, who bought the bar last fall. “We want to complement the district with a variety of music and entertainment options.”

The change of use was greeted with no opposing public commentary. Erick Arguello, of Calle 24, shared with the commission that he’s been working closely with Krouse, who has been responsive to most of the merchant association’s concerns.

“As a Latino Cultural District, we’ve talked about how they are accommodating us by playing once or twice a week Salsa, Cumbia, Reggaeton or other Latino music to connect with the existing community in the area,” Arguello said.

Read on for more info.

[Photo by Google Maps]

The Uptown has new stainless steel tables

Sleek!

[via Capp Street Crap]

Check out Trick Dog’s rad menu/map

We’ve made fun of Trick Dog’s unusual and ever changing menus before, but I have to admit, this menu/map combo is pretty cool:

Better yet, the drinks are named after SF locations, which is almost as cool as Virgil’s Sea Room’s tradition of naming signature cocktails after notable San Franciscans.

Birthday-watt

There are about 500 bars in town, which means that there are about 10 birthdays a week. This past Monday, Kilowatt had it’s 20th birthday, reverting back to 1994 pricing and attitude.

I mean, everyone was super chill, there were a multitude of tasty beers and a steady stream of tunes from the 19nineties. Most beers were $3 and pool was 25¢, meaning that $10 could buy two beers, a congratulatory shot for the bartender, then a game of play with a quarter you found. Also, this totally happened at the table.

So, what do you think about wishing your favorite bar down the street a happy birthday? It’s probably soon.

I mean, Racer 5 for $3 is excellent

[Thanks @ckchew]