Nob Hill Theatre, San Francisco's famed
gay strip club, closed Sunday after 50 years in business.
“Touch our junk! One last time. The
Finale. Closing Aug 19th,” Nob Hill's sign read.
Shelley Steward, who worked the front
desk for 13 years, told the San Francisco Chronicle that
patrons could choose between cruising the video booths for $15 or
watching a performer strip on stage for $20. After the performer had
removed his clothes, he would make his way into to the audience,
encouraging patrons to touch him.
“This is another nail in the coffin
of gay San Francisco,” Steward
said. “It's the end of an era.”
Nob Hill started showing gay porn in
the late 60s.
Co-owner Larry Hoover said that in the
early days the “line [of customers] was around the corner
Hoover and Gary Luce owned Nob Hill for
eight years and said they had hoped a new owner would keep it as it
was. But after nine months on the market, not a single offer was
made. The new owners have not disclosed their plans.
The Chronicle called Nob Hill “a
relic, a holdover from a time when San Francisco was called the 'Smut
Capital of America,' when gay men had few safe places to meet,
pornography was hard to come by and phones didn't have touch-screen
or dating apps.”
Michael Bovenes, a regular customer
since 1998, said that Nob Hill “was on the cutting edge of helping
people realize you could be sexual and be normal. They've done a lot
to release some of that shame around it.”