The Bohemian Club

SF Bohemian Club building

historic facade of the Bohemian Club

The Bohemian Club, a private all-male invitation-only club founded in 1872 and still in operation at 624 Taylor at Post, originated as a regular meeting place of writers, artists and musicians.  Soon international businessmen, military commanders, local and global leaders were added to the membership list, some with honorary memberships (such as former US Presidents and Cabinet Members) and others paying the full membership fee (reported by Vanity Fair as $25,000 initiation plus $5,000 yearly).

Bohemian Grove

The club's Bohemian Grove shelters yearly gatherings of mostly weatlthy and powerful men. Notice Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan in this photo from 1967.

Oscar Wilde quipped when he visited the Bohemian Club in 1882, “I never saw so many well-dressed, well-fed, business-looking Bohemians in my life.”

Membership in the club is secret, but its former lists and almost certainly its current membership list includes some of the most powerful men in the world, who yearly gather outside the City at the club-owned Bohemian Grove.  According to Wikipedia, footnoted to Peter Martin Phillips,

“These camps are the principal means through which high-level business and political contacts and friendships are formed.”

Bohemian Club Owl

624 Taylor doorway

The Bohemian, like other extremely exclusive clubs in the San Francisco Theater District, preserves and maintains its historic site.  The San Francisco building in the Theater District is an ivy-covered beauty.  Embedded in the masonry above a Taylor Street doorway is the club’s motto (Weaving Spiders Come Not Here) surrounding its mascot (the owl).  According to documents at the Bancroft library, this building at 624 Taylor probably was the new Bohemain Clubhouse in 1910, following destruction of the club’s belongings by fire in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.