SF Queer Bar Virgil's is Permanently Closing

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday February 26, 2021

Virgil's Sea Room, a queer bar in the Mission District of San Francisco, is permanently closing, SFGate reports.

The bar, which opened in 2013, announced their closing in an Instagram post on Monday: "It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we announce our closure. We are another victim of the times. After a year of constant loss, not enough help from the feds, and a mental fatigue that can't quite be described... Virgil's has made the tough decision to close.

"It is truly heartbreaking when we were so happy with our business, our staff and of course our most fabulous patrons! We will miss you all! A huge thank you to everyone that ever worked at Virgil's and came through the doors. We will never forget the unique magic of that time and place."

Virgil's closed its doors during the pandemic. Their last Instagram post is from April 2020, when the bar shared details for their GoFundMe to support their staff. Virgil's Monday announcement was met with sadness from patrons and former employees.

One former employee commented, "Virgil's Sea Room will forever be an important landmark in my life. It's super sad experiencing the closure of such a little gem in San Francisco. ... The greatest take away I'll take from my time here is how it opened my life up to a different side of the LGBTQIA+ community. How we can coexist with our ally's [of] all different walks of life, our regulars, our neighbors, the list can go on. It super connected me to the Latin community, and it exposed me and many of my coworkers to non profits from around the county of San Francisco."

Virgil's was named after a Roman poet, and neighbors another queer bar, El Rio, in the Mission District. As SFGate notes, Virgil's was known for trivia nights, queer-themed parties, a sunny patio area, a lounge bedecked with "quirky knickknacks," and "drinks name after local micro-celebrities like Frank Chu."

The Big Queer Pubquiz commented on Instagram, "Hosting trivia on Mondays at Virgils was so magical- there's no space or community quite like it. It was the coziest queer space in the city, and was home to so many events and connections and so much irreplaceable community."

Virgil's isn't the only queer-themed establishment to shutter its doors in San Francisco. The Stud, a 55-year-old SoMa bar, closed in May, and Badlands, a 45-year-old Castro District club, closed in July.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.