A legendary trans bar and nightclub in San Francisco will be closing up shop at the end of the month.
Divas bar and nightclub in the city’s Polk Gulch neighborhood will be throwing a final goodbye party on March 30 before closing for good.
Divas has billed itself as ‘the largest bar and nightclub in the United States devoted to the TS/TV community,’ and is one of the few trans-focused nightclubs in the US.
The three-story venue has been a cornerstone for many in San Francisco’s trans community since 1998.
Divas’ previous incarnation was as The Motherlode, which had been situated down the street from its current location.
It had been one of the few remaining LGBTI venues to survive in Polk Gulch, as property prices continue to skyrocket in San Francisco.
‘I’ve been the manager here for 31 years,’ Alexis Miranda told SFGate. ‘It’s depressing. It’s the only transgender club in California, one of three in the country.
‘We will find another place in the city. I’m working on it,’ Miranda added.
Divas in San Francisco’s Polk Gulch neighborhood | Photo: Google Maps
‘This is a nightmare that has been coming for a long time’
While the news will be upsetting for many of its regulars, it is unlikely Divas’ closure will come as surprise.
The building has been on the market since at least 2014 with a reported price-tag of $3.8 million.
Many of its fans had hoped the iconic venue would remain a space for the trans community.
Divas featured prominently in photography book ‘Divas of San Francisco: Portraits of Transsexual Women’, by photographer David Steinberg.
In a heartfelt Facebook post, alongside photos he had taken in Divas over the years, Steinberg wrote about his sadness in seeing the club go.
‘This is a nightmare that has been coming for a long time, but is nevertheless a real tragedy, for the community, for the city, and for me personally,’ Steinberg wrote.
‘Divas has been a unique and wonderful place for so long that it’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around the reality that, very soon, it will no longer exist.
‘Stories from Divas could fill a dozen mind-dazzling books, and an equal number of films. Beautiful stories, ugly stories, crazy stories, wonderful stories, amazing stories all.’
Steinberg added that the owners are planning on converting the bottom floor into a coffee house, and the top floors into offices and condos.
Divas’ goodbye party will take place between 10pm and 2am on 30 March.
The threat to LGBTI venues across the US
San Francisco is consistently listed as one of America’s most expensive cities.
Divas is far from the first LGBTI venue to fall victim to San Francisco’s high-priced property market.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Blow Buddies, the city’s largest gay sex club, was facing the prospect of closure as the building’s owners are looking to sell.
The Lexington Club, a well-known San Francisco lesbian bar, also closed its doors in 2017 due to rising property prices.
The east coast has also seen similar trends, with a number of New York City’s LGBTI venues either closing or facing the prospect of closure.
After over two decades in business, the Bum Bum Bar, a lesbian bar in Queens, unexpectedly closed down earlier this month.