After 8 years in Penngrove of stiff drinks, open mics, “gutter nights,” live bands and a sea of bras stapled to the ceiling, the Black Cat is closing.
The lovable little lesbian-owned bar with one of the most diverse clienteles in Sonoma County has been sold to new owners from the 8-Ball in Cotati—which is also a lovable little bar but, let’s face it, it’s going to be hard to replicate the insanely unique feel of the Black Cat. “I don’t think it’s going to be quite the queer-friendly and freak-friendly place,” says owner Robin Pfefer, “so I’m sad to lose that space for the community. At the same time, it’s been 8 years, and I’ve had to simplify things.”
Pfefer, who also owns Gravenstones in Cotati and plays guitar and sings in Cheap Date 13, says selling the bar is a matter of scaling back for her family. Her 2 1/2-year-old son is learning to play drums, and Pfefer wants to start jamming with him. “They’re only this age once,” she says, eager to spend more time with him instead of handling the menial tasks at the bar. “Do I want to be with him, or do I want to be on the phone with the garbage company, or the towel company? I’m choosing my son.”
Look for the distinctive purple sign outside to change to the new name—at this point, it’ll be called Mac’s—sometime around September 1. No word on if the new owners plan to continue cramming bands into that tiny, tiny corner, but they apparently want the P.A., which is a good sign. Humble Pie, next door, will stay. Pfefer has already fielded opportunities to run her popular open mic at several other venues.
And as for the bras stapled to the ceiling? “The new owners have said they don’t want the bras,” Pfefer sighs, explaining that everyone on closing night will get to take one down as a memento of the end of an era.
Farewell parties with a gazillion bands are in the planning stages, so check the Black Cat website periodically as things wind down in August. And who knows? Maybe the 2 Live Crew will return to close the joint down. (Yes, they did play there!)