Starline Social Club to Close at the End of the Year

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Sudan Archives headlines the Starline Social Club during night two of the Noise Pop Music and Art Festival on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (Estefany Gonzalez)

The Starline Social Club in Oakland will close at the end of 2022, according to the club's Sam White.

"We are sad to announce that Starline Social Club is going up for sale and will cease current operations Jan 1st," White announced in an Instagram post on Friday afternoon. "We have had an amazing run but it is time for new operators to take over the space and create something new for Oakland."

The nightclub's final event, a New Year's Eve party headlined by local Panamanian hip-hop duo Los Rakas, is scheduled for Dec. 31. Several other shows after Jan. 1 have been rescheduled at other Bay Area venues, including Cornerstone, the Ivy Room, Cafe du Nord and the Chapel.

The outside of the shuttered Starline Social Club in Oakland
The Starline Social Club sits closed in 2021, during the pandemic. (Gabe Meline/KQED)

The Starline Social Club opened in 2015 and quickly established itself as an eclectic, unpretentious home for both local and touring artists. A former Odd Fellows hall built in 1893, it has hosted local DJ nights, art shows, and the occasional music video shoot alongside national acts like Solange, PinkPantheress, Hannibal Burress and Mitski.

Friday's statement is not the first time the Starline has announced its closure. In late 2020, during the pandemic, the Starline's ownership reported its plans to sell the building and the business. The 8,520-square-foot building, which includes a bar, lounge, kitchen and upstairs ballroom, went on the market for $3.2 million.

Months later, however, the club announced that it would instead reopen as a worker-owned co-op — a move that appeared to be a renaissance for the venue, but that "blindsided" some former employees, who had been laid off since March 2020. Several told KQED that the owners had not reached out to them personally, and were using their likeness to rebuild their image within the community. Others questioned the $711,514 that the club had received in Payroll Protection Program loans in 2020 and 2021.

In his closing announcement on Friday, White appeared to acknowledge the tumult of the past couple years.

"A special thanks to our incredible management team and staff who stuck together through all the twists and turns of reopening," White wrote. "It has been an honor working with all of you. Your generosity and strength has been humbling."