Castro's Q Bar to reopen this spring, co-owner says

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday February 8, 2023
Share this Post:
Q Bar in the Castro plans to reopen this spring, according to a co-owner. Photo: Scott Wazlowski
Q Bar in the Castro plans to reopen this spring, according to a co-owner. Photo: Scott Wazlowski

After a distressing launch to 2023 with the closure of longtime bar and restaurant Harvey's, among other Castro businesses, the queerville finally has something to celebrate now that Q Bar co-owner Cip Cipriano has announced that his business will be reopening this spring.

"You're not going to be able to avoid it," Cipriano told the Bay Area Reporter in a phone interview Wednesday. "Brand new walls, bathrooms, and a brand-new shiny walk-in."

Cipriano said an exact date for a soft opening and a large celebration will be forthcoming.

Prior to its forced closure, Q Bar had long hosted popular dance parties on multiple nights of the week. Its return will help to enliven the nightlife scene in San Francisco's LGBTQ district.

An expected revival of the closed Badlands dance space on 18th Street under new ownership has not moved forward. Meanwhile, The Cafe dance club overlooking Market, 17th and Castro streets is once again open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and only opens on Sundays for special events.

A fire on November 16, 2019 that left two injured and seven residents displaced also left Q Bar and Osaka Sushi shuttered. Body, a gay-owned Castro clothing store that'd been around for 40 years, was forced to close shortly after, leaving Cafe Mystique as the only affected business that was able to keep chugging along.

The San Francisco Fire Department announced in 2021 that the cause of the fire was undetermined, as the B.A.R. reported at the time.

Since the fire, Cipriano said they've had to "rebuild the building" from the inside.

"As we have learned the last couple of years, there's a lot of hoops to jump through with the city to make all of that happen," Cipriano said.

He and co-owner John "JB" Bellemore were able to use money from insurance, Cipriano confirmed. Bellemore has been a co-owner since 2009. Other co-owners, who also have stakes in The Edge, The Midnight Sun and Beaux, sold their shares to Cipriano in 2018.

Before it was christened Q Bar in 2009, it was Bar on Castro from 1998. For 21 years before that, it'd been Castro Station.

Cipriano said there will be a large celebration at the reopening. He added that instead of inflatable sky dancers, such as those outside of auto malls, there will be go-go dancers.

"We cannot wait to have everyone walk in and dancing again," Cipriano said.

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.