Owners reveal name of new Castro LGBTQ nightclub

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Tuesday August 15, 2023
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The old Harvey's bar and restaurant space in the Castro will be named BRUT Bar, Bites and Nightclub when a new ownership group transforms it into an LGBTQ nightclub. Photo: Scott Wazlowski
The old Harvey's bar and restaurant space in the Castro will be named BRUT Bar, Bites and Nightclub when a new ownership group transforms it into an LGBTQ nightclub. Photo: Scott Wazlowski

The owners of the new LGBTQ nightclub taking over the old Harvey's restaurant location in San Francisco's Castro district have popped the cork on the venue's name.

It will be called BRUT Bar, Bites, and Nightclub. Its owners have also released a floor plan — designed in consultation with the design lead, the Gi Paoletti Design Lab — that incorporates the corner commercial space Harvey's had occupied at 500 Castro Street with the retail space at 504 Castro Street that had housed smoke shop Puff 'n Stuff. Both are owned by the Paul Langley Co.

As the Bay Area Reporter previously reported, the new ownership group — comprised of Beaux stalwarts Joshua J. Cook, Alexis Lucero, Matthew Mello, Garrett Beighton, and Realtor Marco Caravajal — signed a lease with the Langley company to take over the old Harvey's space after it was shuttered in January. They also agreed to expand into the adjacent storefront that has been vacant since 2020.

Cook told the B.A.R. last month that the space will function as a bar with a "substantial bar menu" during the day. At night the space will be transformed to include a dance floor with a similar capacity of Beaux's — around 200.

The name they chose for the business is a play on a glass of bubbly, Cook explained to the B.A.R. on August 15.

"We love the word play of BRUT," he stated. "Giving a nod to the timelessness of a sparkling wine as well as the flirtatious spirit of a sensual experience. It's meant to be tongue-in-cheek, entertaining and amusing."

Gi Paoletti told the B.A.R. that her team interviewed the ownership group and asked them what they wanted.

"I study that, look at the space, what we can do, and also the budget," Paoletti said. "Because of the expansion, reusing the existing bar didn't make much sense. We're also going to include a whole new bar and add a mezzanine. When people are dancing, they like to see — they like to people watch — and they like to be seen."

Paoletti also commented on the wordplay in the name, which allows for a play of masculine and feminine vibes.

"With the name being BRUT, we don't want it to be thought of as just Brut, bubbly, but also Brut, masculine," Paoletti said. "So it allows me to design both masculine and feminine when people are looking around."

The proposed first floor design of BRUT, set to take over the former Harvey's space in the Castro. Image: Courtesy Gi Paoletti Design Lab  

Further details will be revealed later — including how Brut plans to prominently honor its predecessors in the space, the Harvey's restaurant and the old Elephant Walk. Nods to the former gay bar and the restaurant's namesake, the late gay San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk, had been part of the former decor.

"We're having a lot of fun with it," Paoletti said.

BRÜT, with an umlaut, is the name of an LGBTQ house music dance party that occurs with regular frequency in a number of places, including Los Angeles, Provincetown, Fire Island, and San Francisco, where its next iteration is at The Great Northern on September 22, the Friday before the Folsom Street Fair. Most recently, BRÜT hosted an event during the Up Your Alley fetish fair held in San Francisco in late July.

Cook stated he was "not aware of a party of that name."

BRÜT officials did not immediately return a request for comment for this report.

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