Thursday afternoon on Facebook, the owner of the Lexington Club Lila Thirkield announced some troubling news for fans of the longtime “neighborhood dyke bar.” She’s putting the club up for sale after considerable rent increases. Here’s Thirkield’s message:
It is with a heavy heart, great thought and consideration that I have made the very difficult decision to sell The Lexington Club.
Eighteen years ago I opened The Lex to create a space for the dykes, queers, artists, musicians and neighborhood folks who made up the community that surrounded it. Eighteen years later, I find myself struggling to run a neighborhood dyke bar in a neighborhood that has dramatically changed. A few years back my rent was raised to market rate, and though it was difficult, we seemed to weather it at first. But as the neighborhood continued to change, we began to see sales decline, and they continued to do so. We tried new concepts, different ways of doing things, but we were struggling. When a business caters to about 5% of the population, it has tremendous impact when 1% of them leave. When 3% or 4% of them can no longer afford to live in the neighborhood, or the City, it makes the business model unsustainable.
It’s possible that whoever the new owner will be will want to preserve the bar’s LGBTQ friendly character. But given what’s in store for Esta Noche (a high-end cocktail bar), it’s grim news for Mission queers.
Update Friday October 24: Thirkiel shared more thoughts with 48 Hills this morning. She says that the bar will remain open until after New Years and that there is a new owner who she has been in talks with. As far as she knows, that new owner doesn’t intend to keep the Lexington Club a queer bar.