Society Cabaret temporarily relocates to Inner Sunset's Sip Tea Room

Photos: David-Elijah Nahmod/Hoodline

Society Cabaret, the independently run nightclub with a tradition of offering a platform to local performers, has left its longtime home at the Hotel Rex in Union Square. While the Rex undergoes massive renovations, Society has moved its operations to Sip Tea Room at 721 Lincoln Way in the Inner Sunset.

"They're trying to compete with the other Union Square hotels," Society Cabaret's Christopher Nelson told Hoodline, referring to the Rex. "They want the hotel to be tech savvy and upscale with more amenities."

"We think this is a good jumping off point for us to expand our operations from two nights a week to full time," said Paula Heitman, one of the four business partners who have run Society Cabaret since its inception five years ago. "I'd like to have a seven-day-a-week operation."
Tim Heitman (left), Christopher Nelson (center), Paula Heitman (right) enjoying tea and pastries at Sip Tea Room.

Tim Heitman, another of the partners, feels that a return to the Hotel Rex after its renovations are completed might not be feasible for the nightclub.

"I don't think a full-time operation would ever be possible at the Rex because they need the room we were using for other things." he said. "We're exploring new venues, hoping we can find a place where we can operate seven days. We have lots of things we'd like to do beyond what we're doing now. We want to find our own brick and mortar location."

For now, Sip Tea Room is hosting two Society Cabaret programs. Tea And Conversation is a series of interviews with cabaret performers who talk about their lives and sing a few songs. Curtain Call is an open mic for fledgling cabaret performers.
Inside Sip Tea Room.

"Sip Tea Room fits Tea And Conversation quite well," said Paula Heitman. "That was important to get us started. We're getting around 25-30 people for Tea And Conversation and around 30 for Curtain Call."

"What I like about Sip Tea Room is that it's intimate," added Nelson. "You're up close and personal with the artist. You feel like you're in someone's living room with them performing for you. Even at the Rex there was the intimacy of the room that made it feel like you were up close and personal with the artist."
The piano at Sip Tea Room.

"There's a concern that the room at the Rex won't be like that after the remodel," said Heitman.

For now, Society Cabaret is scheduled to appear at the Sip Tea Room through December. Paula Heitman said that they hope not to have to extend the Tea Room run.

"We love the tea room but in our own space we can be masters of our own schedule," she said. "We hope to find a place in the city along the BART corridor, so if anyone knows of a place ... "

For information on the cabaret schedule at the Sip Tea Room, visit the Society Cabaret website.
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