On San Francisco’s Premier Queer Social Clubs Is Expanding Its Footprint in The Castro

The Academy SF — the self-knighted all-inclusive LGBTQIA+ social space at 2166 Market Street — recently announced it will take over an adjacent storefront to offer more for club members, starting sometime early next year.

The club, which is located in San Francisco’s Castro District, was founded in 2017 by co-founders Paul Miller and Nate Bourg. In 2019, The Academy took over the top floor of 2166 Market Street, following the relocation of the Michael Woo State Farm Insurance location that formerly occupied the spot. 

Since then, the venue has become a nexus of San Francisco queer culture, attracting everything from convivial happy hours to deep dives into the local public art space; the street-facing, on-site barbershop still does exude a certain zoological quality that’s always sat as a peculiarity; seeing people getting their keratin snipped behind the floor-to-ceiling glass windows always felt akin to observing large brown bears groom themselves, at least from the perspective of passerby.

While the aforenoted salon won’t expand into a new area — the club will soon be spilling over into the adjacent vacant storefront at 2164 Market Street — The Academy SF recently announced a new expansion that will see this prominent social club grow into a new chapter of cultural significance.

“This is an exciting game changer for our growing club, giving us a large open indoor space, additional storage, and other features that we don’t have in our existing building,” says co-founder Nate Bourg in a press release. “With so many vacant storefronts in our area, we’re fortunate to be engaging with a kind and reasonable landlord who wants to see the neighborhood thrive, rather than hold out for exorbitant rents like we hear so many other building owners are doing.”

Per Bourg, the new space is expected to allow the business to offer more to club members and our community — “we are so grateful for the opportunity.” The new space is expected to help enhance class offerings as part of their “Academy Homeroom” series, community meetings including hosting the Castro Merchants on a monthly basis, receptions and banquets, fundraisers for local nonprofits, and much more. 

When will the space open? Sometime in the first few months of 2023, barring permits and the pace of construction. But the new addition is currently undergoing significant “seismic and accessibility improvements,” and the 2164 Market Street space is also being painted and refreshed to “complement The Academy’s stylish aesthetic.”

Feature image: Courtesy of The Academy SF

Leave a Reply