For the second time since first opening its doors in 2005, The Uptown nightclub in Oakland has closed. The club, across the street for the Fox Theater on Telegraph Avenue, had already been shuttered since March. Its owners, Robbin Green-Yeh and Ray Yeh, announced the permanent closure on its website Friday.
“With no date in sight when live entertainment will be safe, we just cannot afford to continue to pay our rent and other expenses with no income in the foreseeable future,” the owners wrote. “This was a heartbreaking decision and one we put off as long as we possibly could.”
Yeh and Green-Yeh, who are both listed as doctors of internal medicine in the East Bay, went on to say that The Uptown was never a financial investment for them.
“It was always a labor of love and the dividends it paid are measured in the wonderful friendships that sprung from the shared love of music,” the statement read. “Knowing that these friendships will endure despite the closure of our beloved space offers some consolation in these dark days.”
The Uptown was first opened in 2005 by Bob Fratti and Kevin Burns. The two sold the business to Larry Trujillo (owner of the Blank Club in San Jose), Green-Yeh and Yeh in 2007. The business first closed in 2014 after a lease ran out and the owners chose not to renew it. Minus Trujillo, the other owners brought the club back in 2016; first for private events and then for public concerts soon after. While the club’s national touring act concert schedules never found a permanent rhythm, the venue has hosted numerous large acts like Green Day, Ice Cube and the Alabama Shakes. The Uptown did build a reputation for talented local music acts and alternative entertainment, such as burlesque Hubba Hubba Revue as well as comedy shows and karaoke.
“So many talented people have played our stage and so many amazing patrons have been there to enjoy them,” the owners wrote. “It was an honor to make these connections possible. We strived to represent and welcome the diversity of the Bay Area. In that we succeeded and we will be forever proud of this accomplishment.”
The Uptown is possibly the first Bay Area music venue to permanently close because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Uptown was also one of dozens of music venues in the Bay Area forced to shut down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Slim’s announced it would not return shortly after the pandemic began, but the owners said they were already planning on closing. The venue will return as DJ club YOLO, under new ownership.