Bar with colourful history closes in San Francisco

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The bar inside 330 Ritch | Facebook | 14289

SFist informs us that following a nasty shooting inside the bar recently, San Francisco nightclub 330 Ritch has surrendered its licence and closed. The shooting left three people injured, one critically.

It appears there has been an increase in the number of shootings in San Francisco over recent months. “Supervisor David Chiu said that he and his district were optimistic that nightlife violence numbers in and around North Beach were going down, but he says, “Unfortunately over the last six to twelve months there’s been some indication that this is a problem that’s not going away.””

West Hollywood Wives | 14290

Long ago, in the days before AIDS, this building was the Ritch Street Baths, and there are still some open-air showers on the roof to prove it, says SFist.

The Ritch Street Baths is mentioned in the Tales of the City books by Armistead Maupin.

Opened in 1965 by gay community leader Rick Stokes and David Clayton, SF Gate describes the baths:

“a bathhouse near the Southern Pacific train station that was modeled on a Minoan temple in ancient Crete.”

Mr. Clayton told The San Francisco Chronicle in 1984 that early gay bathhouses were located in out-of-the-way places where “people going by would not be alerted to what type of establishment it was. At a time when most gay people were in the closet, they were places where you could sneak off to.” In 1977 Stokes and his original investors sold it to the national Club Baths Chain. The club was affected by an arson fire in 1977 when a number of bathhouse fires swept San Francisco. It closed down during the San Francisco bathhouse crisis in 1984.

Mr Stokes went to law school a year after he opened the baths and became a lawyer so he would have more access to power as a gay businessman. In 1971 he was named by the Family Services Agency of San Francisco as a member of the board of directors, and was one of the first out gay men appointed to such a position.

David Clayton died in 1995. He was a founder of Sacramento’s first gay organization, the Association for Responsible Citizenship, a major supporter of Theater Rhinoceros, the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and other arts institutions.


SP

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