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Haight Legacy Business Candidate: Club Deluxe

Update 8/23/2022: Today Club Deluxe announced that they will remain open at 1509-1511 Haight Street after reaching “a fair and reasonable lease” with their landlord. We are thrilled that this business will remain an important part of San Francisco’s cultural identity and an anchor in the Haight-Ashbury. We have assisted Club Deluxe in submitting their application for the Legacy Business Registry and look forward to seeing this process through with them in the coming month.

Update 8/17/2022: We recently spoke with Sarah Wilde, the owner of Club Deluxe, and she will move ahead with pursuing legacy status for the business, with SF Heritage’s help. The process of applying to join the Legacy Business Registry will extend past Club Deluxe’s proposed closing date of August 27. That said, so long as the business moves to a new location within two years, they will be able to carry their legacy status with them. We would like to clarify that joining the Legacy Business Registry is not a ‘cure all’ for this business, but the boost in recognition and support from the city’s Legacy Business Registry program in the form of grants, contracts, and marketing assistance can be helpful as Club Deluxe works hard to remain a unique part of San Francisco’s cultural identity.

Update 8/12/22: Following the recent news about Club Deluxe’s planned closure, SF Heritage joins other concerned community members in expressing our solidarity and support for this historic live music venue. We have decided to withdraw this business from our legacy business voting contest, recognizing that Club Deluxe requires more immediate assistance beyond joining the Legacy Business program. SF Heritage has reached out to Club Deluxe’s owners, Supervisor Preston’s office, and the SF Office of Small Business, to offer assistance to Club Deluxe (including continuing to encourage their application for the Legacy Business Registry), and are committed to assisting them in addition to running our voting campaign. We will continue to run our Haight legacy business voting campaign alongside these efforts to assist Club Deluxe, and continue to uplift the Haight’s special legacy spots and promote their addition to the Registry (businesses on the Registry can benefit from the recognition of their long-standing contribution to the city’s historical and cultural identity, as well as receive grants, contracts, and marketing assistance). We also hope that each of our remaining candidates will consider joining the Registry regardless of our contest’s voting results. Please VOTE HERE, and thank you for supporting our preservation efforts!

Club Deluxe is a live music venue located on the famous corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco. The bar, opened by Jay Johnson in 1989, quickly became known as a local secret spot for great live music and cocktails. Under his ownership, Club Deluxe became the nesting ground for the swing revival of the 1990s, with Johnson and patrons alike found at the club decked out in their best vintage clothing and enjoying a night out. Johnson passed away in 2015 at 61 years old after a long battle with cancer.

Johnson singing at Club Deluxe in 1994.
Bar patrons at the Club Deluxe, 1511 Haight Street, San Francisco, 1991. Photo by Dave Glass.
Bartender at the Club Deluxe, 1511 Haight Street, San Francisco, 1991. Photo by Dave Glass.

Today, owners Sarah Wilde and Chris Pankow are carrying on Johnson’s legacy, hosting live music seven days a week and serving up drinks like their Deluxe Collins, a version of the club’s longtime signature Spa Collins.

Exterior of Club Deluxe, at 1509-1511 Haight Street. SF Heritage photo.

On August 3, news broke that Wilde and Pankow are planning to close the music venue, after local musicians shared what appeared to be a letter from Wilde to musicians. In the letter, she wrote that the club “needs the “multi-billion-dollar real estate company that owns our building to allow a fraction of their portfolio to remain occupied by small businesses, artists, the unsigned musician, the carpenter, the waitress, and the single parent.” It was not immediately clear when the venue would close for good, but Wilde said in her note she hopes to move Club Deluxe to a new location, if possible. Supervisor Dean Preston, whose district includes the club, offered to nominate the business to receive legacy business status, which would help with marketing efforts, business support and grants.

Legacy BusinessesHaight-Ashbury

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