SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A legendary gay bar in San Francisco is on the verge of closing, but help may be coming to save the Stud Bar South of Market.
Entertainer Charo and countless other performers have wowed crowds at The Stud Bar over its 50 years in business. But now, faced with a 300 percent rent hike, this San Francisco institution is in danger of closing.
"It's absolutely devastating. It's not just for the LGBTQ community. It's actually for a much larger population. It's for the whole of San Francisco," said Caitlin Crandall, The Stud Bar regular.
Crandall and about 100 employees and others were at a hurriedly called meeting Sunday night. In an emotional announcement, Stud owner Michael McElhaney said new owners of the building are raising the rent 300 percent, come September to $9,000 a month. He said the rent increase and his mother's health are reasons he's going back home to Hawaii. But out of the meeting emerged a group that will try to save The Stud.
"They're going to try and hopefully step in and buy the liquor license and then with that, move the bar to a different location," said Brian Feagins, longtime The Stud Bar bartender
Brian Feagins has been a bartender here for 27 years. He's offered to pay September's rent.
"I figured it would help buy some time so that for those who want to step in and do the right thing and make sure the bar survives, that we have the time to do it," said Feagins.
The Stud is the oldest continuously operating gay bar south of Market.