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Oakland’s Starline Social Club Announces it Will Close This Month

Written by Olivia Cruz MayedaPublished Dec. 19, 2022 • 2:29pm
Kate Kemp, left, and Aja Ryan, right, on the dance floor during a party at Starline Social Club where Oaklandish introduced its new fall clothing line in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, September 29, 2016. | Carlos Avila Gonzalez/SF Chronicle via Getty

An Oakland live performance venue that has hosted such prominent artists as Solange, Dirty Projectors and Dave Chappelle has announced it will close at the end of the month.

The Starline Social Club, which also served as a platform for local artists, announced in an Instagram post on Friday that it will end all operations on Jan. 1. 

“A special thanks to our incredible management team and staff who stuck together through all the twists and turns of reopening,” club partner Sam White wrote in the post, referring to the venue’s return from Covid closure earlier this year. “It has been an honor working with all of you.”

White, who also co-owns Oakland’s Ramen Shop, remembers spending time with Chappelle after the comedian’s show at Starline in 2016.

“He hung out with us at 4 in the morning smoking joints,” said White. “He is the nicest guy.”

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 25: Seattle-based band Tacocat performs onstage during the 25th annual Noise Pop Festival at Starline Social Club on February 25, 2017 in Oakland, California. | Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images

Housed in a Victorian building at the corner of Martin Luther King Way and Grand Avenue, the club first opened in 2015. It leaves behind a short but storied legacy on the Bay Area late-night scene. It also wasn’t without some controversy.

In 2020, five years after opening, the club announced that it was closing due to the pandemic. Just six months later, Starline club officials said that it would return with a new business model as a worker-owned co-op—surprising some former employees who said they were never told of the club’s plans. The co-op never came to be.

White told The Standard that the club is closing due to “pandemic related financial problems” and spoke fondly of the venue’s history.

“It’s been a community gathering space since the 1890’s, and I know it will be again after the Starline era,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing its new life.”

Only a few events remain on the club’s calendar.

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