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San Francisco’s last gay strip club closes its doors

Written by gaytourism

Nob Hill Adult Theatre in San Fransciso (Photo: Facebook)

One of San Francisco’s most famous gay landmarks, the Nob Hill Adult Theatre, has shut its doors. The closure comes after 50 years in business.

It hosted its final performances yesterday (19 August).

The building dates back to 1910. It turned gay in the late 1960s under the ownership of businessman Shan Sayles. The business was taken over in 2010 by partners Gary Luce and Larry Hoover, both friends of Shales.

‘Touch our junk’

Over the years, the venue – whose motto became ‘Touch our junk’ – played host to hundreds of go-go boys, porn stars and strippers. A foot surgery clinic will reportedly move in to the premises.

‘It opened as a grocery store and butcher shop,’ Luce told KTVU. ‘Throughout the years the ownership has changed hands, including its time in the ’40s as Melody Lane, a jazz club purportedly co-owned by Joe DiMaggio. It went on to become Club Hangover, a nightspot in the ’50s with an affinity for Dixieland jazz.’

Luce says he had the idea for the ‘Touch our junk’ slogan after overhearing an exchange at an airport between a disgruntled passenger and a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent. ‘You’re not gonna touch my junk!’ the angry passenger said to the security agent.

The phrase amused Luce and he suggested to Hoover they adopt it for the theatre.

Luce and Hoover now plan to retire. Luce said the theatre continued to get good lunch time trade and he felt sorry for the venue’s regulars.

‘I feel bad for the customers. It’s like Cheers. We get a good lunch crowd.’

However, the end of this particular era simply comes from the businessmen and partners wishing to leader a quieter life.

‘I’m old and ready to go away,’ said Luce.

‘Another nail in the coffin of gay San Francisco’

‘This is another nail in the coffin of gay San Francisco,’ said Shelley Steward to the SF Chronicle. Steward had worked on the front desk for 13 years. ‘It’s the end of an era.’

Some items from the theatre have been donated the the San Francisco GLBT Historical Society for posterity.

Other items will be on sale to the public via an estate and memorabilia sale on both 1-2 September at the theatre.

The sale promises ‘everything… from porn star pictures to the disco ball. From glory hole panels to theatre seats. From our infamous Fuck Bench to the theatre lighting, sound system and fog machine. Props, T-shirts, costumes, apartment furniture and retail. It will all be here.’

See also

What does ‘Be Gay, Do Crime’ mean?

Memoir of Gilbert Baker, creator of the rainbow flag, will be released next year

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