Last week, the operators of the Lexington Club on 19th Street in The Mission announced that the bar will soon shut down. High rents and changing demographics were cited as the causes for the Lexington’s demise.
The announcement triggered some earnest soul-searching around San Francisco, because the Lexigton was, arguably, The City’s last true lesbian bar. Writing for the HuffPo, Jen Jack Gieseking says:
The only bar dedicated to serving lesbians in San Francisco, the Lexington Club, announced that it is closing after 18 years. You may be shocked that the bar is closing and/or that there is only one lesbian bar in that gay metropolis. As a researcher of lesbian-queer spaces and economies, I am not surprised at all.
But wait! Is that true? Is the Lexington Club San Francisco’s last true lesbian bar? Or, is it the case, as a wise Jedi once said, “No. There is another.”
The Bold Italic points to Bernal Heights:
[The Lexington] has been a Mission staple for almost two decades, and when it goes so goes one of the city’s last lesbian bars in the city (Wild Side West in Bernal still stands, but it’s arguable whether it’s actually a “lesbian bar” anymore)
Journalist-about-town Steve Silverman is on the same page:
SFist replies, Yes but only sort of and not really so much:
Some may argue the case for Wild Side West, which remains a LGBT-friendly neighborhood bar in Bernal Heights, open since 1962, with a historic link to the lesbian community, but anecdotally we understand it is more of a mixed bar these days.
Bernalwood has considered this question of Wild Side West’s sexual credentials before, in the context of a larger discussion of the changing political economy of the Bay Area lesbian community.
Yet with the closure of The Lex, the subcultural role of Wild Side West is now a bit more of an urgent question. Please discuss.
PHOTOS: Wild Side West by Telstar Logistics. Lexington Club sign by Vintageroadtrip on Flickr