Dan, one of the promoters behind Lucky Pierre and Heat at the Stud, sent me an interesting link this morning from the San Francisco Business Journal about Club NV on Howard Street being razed to make room for the expansion of their Foundry Square III building. Add to this the fact that the former Sound Factory has now been turned into a sales office for a new high-rise condo, and the transition of 1015 toward being more of a rock venue, and you start to see a trend emerging. I think the 11th Street corridor with DNA, Fat City, Caliente and the other clubs is probably the last solid concentration of clubs in what used to be the city's nightlife neighborhood, with The Stud holding on for dear life over on 9th Street next to the Cat Club (which I have seen almost empty on a Saturday night).
It seems that San Francisco just doesn't have the market to continue supporting large clubs in SoMa; in fact, I would say that the trend is much more toward smaller events in spaces like The Transfer and Deco, at least in the gay scene. Gus will always manage to put on the big weekend parties for the tourist crowd, but the big gay dance scene seems to be just about done (consider, as well, the recent demise of Fag Fridays).
I don't know how to feel about this; on the one hand, the loss of nightlife venues is a pretty serious issue, and I know for a fact that there are political manuevers afoot to make sure that the City's master plan will give due consideration to the impact of development on nightlife. But perhaps this is emblematic of the overall economic situation that has gripped the country for so many years now; the people who are making the money are not the kind who go out to crazy DJ parties, but rather want to bask in the burning of their bucks on bottle service. Meanwhile, the people who do go out, like young people, don't want to pay upwards of $10 for cover and $6 for drinks.
My hope that this is just a re-structuring of the nightlife scene, and that in the next couple years, once we're out of this recession and the mood of the entire country shifts, we'll see a return to a more exciting and dynamic scene. I just hope there are spaces left where an independent promoter can bring forth a vision of what such a scene could be like.