Purple Onion gets set for last laugh
After 60 years of (mostly) side-splitting entertainment, San Francisco’s Purple Onion is about to go the way of the Gold Dust Lounge.
The infamous little comedy club and its upstairs persona Caffé Macaroni will both be forced to shut their doors October 1 after receiving eviction notices from the building’s new owners.
The space at 140 Columbus Ave. is some seriously valuable SF real estate, but there is no word yet as to how much the new owners paid or who they are.
In its prime, the Purple Onion hosted the likes of Woody Allen, Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, Zach Galifianakis and just about every Bay Area jokester worth his or her salt. The 80-person venue has been a tourist attraction for out of towners trying to get their laugh on in The City.
Owner Mario Ascione tells Uptown Almanac he doesn’t have any plans to re-open the club in a new location just yet. He’s also mum on who has ousted his business.
Rumors are flying, though, that Roger Forbes has claimed The Purple Onion as a victim. If Forbes — a major stockholder in the Seattle-based Déjà vu Showgirls — inserts corporate strip joints into these locations, many San Franciscans will be nothing short of pissed.
I have nothing against naked women or men. I don’t particularly care if you pay your rent by exotic dancing or if it’s just a hobby. But — if we are going to have strip clubs — let’s make them locally-owned establishments and maybe even co-ops like the Lusty Lady.
What’s not okay is bringing in the strip club equivalent of a Starbucks and closing a San Francisco landmark to build it.