Divas Nightclub and Bar, San Francisco’s premier transgender nightclub, is for sale. Located in the Polk Gulch neighborhood, Divas has been entertaining customers at its location at 1081 Post St. since 1998.
Divas had moved from across the street to where it is today from inside the drag bar the Motherlode after a long, multi-year battle with local businesses and church groups. Speaking about the move to Spectator Magazine back in 1998, previous owner Mark Gilpin said “it’s the nicest thing the girls have ever had. We’re getting a better clientele—you don’t have the street trash.”
Entertainment at Divas consists of a variety of weekly themed events which range from a talent show on Tuesdays, ‘Naughty SchoolGirls’ on Wednesdays, Divas Darlings on Thursdays, the Midnight Show with Alexis Miranda on Friday and Saturday nights and karaoke on Sundays.
The 4-story building sits on a 2,352 square foot lot with 9,120 square feet of space inside the club. The nightclub is comprised of three levels with an additional level of office space. The downstairs street level cabaret lounge bar has a long bar, stage and mini booths lining the wall. Upstairs, the second level is used as office space, the third level is used as the dance floor with mirrors lining the walls, a DJ booth in the back and a wall of old picture tube TVs. The fourth and final floor has more of a country club lounge feeling with couches, a pool table and full bar. When Divas first opened, the third and fourth floors were operated briefly as Dragon, a club for Asian men.
The building is listed at $2,800,000 and the business, with liquor license, is listed at $900,000.
The Polk Gulch neighborhood was once San Francisco’s gay center, but like many LGBT neighborhoods outside of the Castro, has seen a severe reduction in LGBT bars over the past few decades. In 2012, Deco Lounge became Emperor Norton’s Boozeland and Kimo’s became Playland Bar.
"Some of the people who have new businesses don’t want the people who live here to stay," said Alexis Miranda, Divas manager since 2000, in the 2007 SF Bay Guardian article ‘The death of Polk Street’. "They want to close us down. They’re trying to gentrify the neighborhood.”
We spoke with current owner Steve Berkey’s agent, who told us that the preference is for the property and Divas to be sold together and that for whoever takes it over to continuing running the club, with some upgrades, the same way. He said that Berkey knows how important Divas is to the transgender community and would like to see no lapse in employment for anyone currently working there.
According to the agent, the building has been shown to a few potential buyers but no deal has been made yet. If the building were to be sold separately, Berkey would like Divas to be offered a lease-back agreement for 18-24 months while the club looks for another space to move into.
When we spoke to Alexis Miranda about the impending sale, she was steadfast in denying that any serious negotiations were going down, even when presented with the details of the listing. While she knows that owner Steve Berkey has been quietly considering a sale for years, she said that, “as you know, anything in SF is for sale for the right price.”