Farewell to Nob Hill Theatre: 50 Years Of Gay Strip Shows to End

An icon of San Francisco’s gay adult entertainment scene, the 107-year-old Nob Hill Theatre, has been staging live stripping and sex shows for the last 50 years, making it the world’s oldest male strip joint, according to the gay news site Out.com. But on August 19, that wild, five-decade era comes to an end when the couple who has owned the venue for the last six years will retire, and the theater—or “theatre”—shutters forever.

Married couple Larry Hoover, 65, and Gary Luce, 63, were living a idyllic existence in Palm Springs, California, when previous owner Shan Sayles talked them into buying the venue in 2012, according to The Bay Area Reporter newspaper.

"Shan said if we didn't buy it he was just going to close. We asked for a three-month trial period,” Hoover told the paper. But only one month went by before they realized that they not only had become custodians of a cultural landmark, but they had a moneymaker on their hands as well. The business was instantly profitable, they said, and has shown increased revenues every year that Hoover and Luce have owned the Nob Hill Theatre.

Now, however, they say they are ready to head back to Palm Springs and retire once and for all.

Despite the theatre’s profitability even in an age dominated by instantly available and often free online adult entertainment, the new owners—who purchased the building that houses the Nob Hill, not only the theater itself—have no plans to continue hosting live adult performances there. 

There has been no announcement to date about what the building at 729 Bush Street will house going forward. But the 50-seat theater, which is also home to 20 video booths and two private dancer lounges, will be history.

To mark the end of the Nob Hill Theatre era, gay porn producer Naked Sword will film a four-scene DVD at the theater on August 17, and the public is invited to watch the action. Tickets—$30 for general admission, $50 for “premium” seats—can be purchased by visiting this link

Photo By Artemisboy / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain