Hungry i strip club, 546 Broadway.
the hungry i strip club on Broadway changed its look in 2002 a North
Beach institution came one step closer to disappearing from the palette
of historic venues in San Francisco's 20th Century arts and social legacy.
Pretty high brow consequences for a strip joint, don't you think? It's all
about the lowercase "i." That's because this hungry i was a name-only hungry
i, not Enrico Banducci's world famous nightclub.
Banducci's hungry i - the name stood for "hungry intellectual" - operated
at 599 Jackson Street and achieved reknown as an avant-garde hang out and
performance space for ground-breaking young comedians in the 1950s. Mort
Sahl was a hungry i standout. Phyllis Diller, Bill Cosby, Lenny Bruce, Ronnie
Schell, and Jonathan Winters are also hungry i vets. The Kingston Trio
recorded two famous albums at the hungry i, including the very first live
performance of Wimoweh. Vince Guaraldi, Glenn Yarbrough, the Gateway Singers,
Godfrey Cambridge, and other musicians and comedians also recorded live
at the hungry i. The distinctive Jackson Street space was punctuated by
its cavernous entertainment room and a "mile long" bar. By the late 1950s,
the hungry i's alternative-ness had given way to its notoriety as a stop
along San Francisco's after-dark parade of adult ease and sophistication.
In other words, tourists found it. After the club closed, Banducci sold
the name to what became the hungry i strip club, 546 Broadway. The Jackson
Street property is part of a block associated with the notorious International
Hotel, and was under construction for a senior housing complex in 2002.
A "Hungry i Reunion" featuring Diller, Cosby, Winters, and others was filmed
IV: Dorothy Currin's hungry i memories