Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Beatbox club to close

1175325_648650545153154_2050659917_nSan Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood is losing another gay bar.

Owners of Beatbox, at 314 11th Street, announced this week that is closing July 3.

In an interview today (Wednesday, June 1), co-owner and general manager Brian Kent said the liquor license, the lease, and “everything that comes along with it” have been sold to new owners, who will shut the space down and do “major” renovations before reopening as a different business.

Kent declined to say much about the buyers since the deal is still in escrow.

“They’re LGBT-friendly, but they’re not in our community,” he said.

The club’s May 31 announcement says, “Beatbox owners Brian Kent, Paul Saccone, and Andy Zivic have been active members in the community, turning Beatbox into a safe, clean, fun space for LGBT people and their friends. Over the last five years, Beatbox has been home to countless dance parties, stage productions, comedy shows, cabaret performances, roasts, wedding receptions, memorials, fundraisers, contests, corporate events, and much more.”

Kent said selling Beatbox is “a difficult decision and emotional one.” He and his partners have had “many offers” over the years, but “we weren’t ready, and it wasn’t the right time.”

Recently, though, “Everything fell into place with the timing,” he said. “As emotional as it is, it’s the right decision right now.”

Kent added that “business has been great,” but “in this climate … it’s difficult to run a solely-LGBT nightclub.”

He said the bar’s had to expand its business to include corporate events with businesses like Adobe and Macy’s and other “non-LGBT events so we can stay open.”

When he and his partners looked at the offer they received, they decided they were “ready to move on and do other things with our lives as individuals,” said Kent, who said he couldn’t share how much the bar’s being sold for.

The state Alcohol and Beverage Control department’s website doesn’t include information on the new owners, but it does say that the state Board of Equalization put a hold on Beatbox’s liquor license in March.

Venus Stromberg, a BOE spokeswoman, said she couldn’t discuss Beatbox’s specific situation, but if a business “hasn’t paid its sales tax,” putting a hold on the liquor license is one way her agency has “of leveraging payment.”

ABC spokesman John Carr said that means “the liquor license privileges are on hold until the Board of Equalization issues have been resolved.”

Carr said their license hasn’t been suspended, so the bar can still sell alcohol, but “They just can’t transfer or sell their license unless this matter’s resolved,” he said.

Court records show that the club’s owners filed claims against two promoters in the past year because they failed to bring in the bar business they’d promised for different events.

The documents also say Beatbox was sued in May for not paying another company $665 for door repairs that were made last year.

Kent said “the bill had been paid,” and the case, which was dismissed today, had been erroneously filed.

He didn’t immediately respond to a follow-up call about his business’s tax issue.

[Update, Friday, June 3]: In an email, Kent said that Beatbox’s owners didn’t owe any taxes.

“It was a certificate of ownership change that needed to be filed and has been done,” he said. “The hold should be off by Monday,” June 6. [End update]

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 1, 2016 @ 2:25 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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