The Stud was cofounded as a gay male leather bar by Alexis Muir and George Mason in 1966. (At the time Alexis, a transgender woman, was known as Richard Conroy. Changing her last name to Muir may have been in reference to John Muir, who was her great-uncle.)
When the Stud, along with the gay male leather bar Febe’s, opened up on Folsom Street in San Francisco in 1966, other gay male leather bars and establishments catering to this subculture followed creating a foundation for the growing gay male leather community. The Stud was also originally a Hell’s Angels hangout. By 1969 it had become a dance bar for hippies on the margins of the leather scene.
In the early 1970s, George sold his half of the bar to Alexis, making her the sole owner. Alexis later sold it to Jerry “Trixie” Jones, Heidi Steffan, and Jan Hill. In 1974, the Stud was bought out by Jim “Edie” Fleckenstein. Edie died in 1994, leaving The Stud to his partner and resident DJ Larry Holloway aka LaRue, and his accountant Ben “Fiesta” Guibord. They then partnered up with Michael McElheney. LaRue died in the 1990s due to complications from HIV/AIDS. Ben “Fiesta” Guibord died in 2011, at the age of 63, also due to complications from HIV/AIDS.
In the summer of 2016 the Stud was given a very large rent increase and Michael McElheney decided it was time to retire. When the bar was faced with closure, members of the local community began to organize in hopes of preserving it. This organizing resulted in the formation of a collective of nightlife professionals, which bought the business from Michael McElheney. Members of the collective include artists, DJs, and performers such as Honey Mahogany, Siobhan Aluvalot, Vivvyanne Forevermore, and Rachel Ryan. The collective took ownership of the Stud on December 30, 2016, making it, according to collective member Nate Allbee, “the very first co-op nightclub in the United States.”
Originally the Stud was located at 1535 Folsom Street; in 1987 it moved to its current location at Ninth and Harrison Streets (still in San Francisco).
In 2017, the art installation known as the San Francisco South of Market Leather History Alley was installed; in it Alexis Muir (among others) is honored with a bronze bootprint displaying her name and a short statement about her. (Alexis Muir was a cofounder and former owner of the Stud (see above)).
The Stud is part of the Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District in San Francisco. A ribbon cutting was held on June 12, 2018 outside the Stud to mark the district’s creation.