Special Perks During Last Days of Campaign
The Speakeay's WeFunder campaign is closing on August 18. Between now and then, we are offering special perks to new investors and anyone who increases their investment.
Tucked away deep within The Palace Theatre is the framework for our newest bar, The Gas Lamp Lounge. Delayed during original construction, we are now ready to put on the finishing touches and open this space to the public.
Every dollar invested between now and August 18 will be dedicated to opening The Gas Lamp Lounge, and investors will receive the following perks:
VIP Grand Opening and Tasting
Every investor will receive an invitation to the VIP Grand Opening and cocktail tasting in the completed Lounge. In addition ...
Every investor who contributes $250 or more will receive an engraved Speakeasy flask. In addition ...
Name Your Own Cocktail
Every investor who contributes $2,500 or more will be invited to name one of the new cocktail creations served exclusively in The Gas Lamp Lounge. In addition ...
Name our Head Bartender
The investor who contributes the most will be the namesake of the Gas Lamp Lounge's lead character!
The opening of the Gas Lamp Lounge will drive revenue and profit for The Speakeasy, another benefit for all investors. This is your last chance to participate in our success. Please make your investment today!
The Speakeasy is Immersive Theatre
More than 15,000 people have already experienced our one-of-a-kind show.
Profitable After Just Four Months
"I was sitting on a fake antique couch, decked out in a suit and hat, as a group of moderately drunk women tried to figure out who around here was “real.”
worth of tickets sold in first eight months
Our 2014 Production Sold Out 75 Consecutive Shows
The first production proved our concept and was a runaway hit.
More than 8,300 people crammed into a tiny venue to see our 2014 show. But in June of 2015, our landlord kicked us out so a law firm could move in. But we were tenacious and found our current, 9,000sqft location and began crafting our current production that's bigger, better, and more unbelievable—using everything we learned in our first go-round.
Our first location in the Tenderloin district.
In 2014: Profitable in Just 14 Weeks
We recovered our startup cost and gave a 56% return to investors.
In the two months before we were forced to close the show, we were profitable enough to earn a return for our investors. That was a great day: sitting around the kitchen table stuffing envelopes with letters and checks for each of our investors, thanking them for their confidence and returning 100% of their money with another 56% on top.
Return to investors
Our New Show is Three Times Bigger
We've poured $2 million into buildout of our new 9,000 sqft venue.
Two bars, a circular cabaret, a casino complete with craps, blackjack and roulette, and a one-way mirror in the chorus girls’ dressing room are some of the highlights of the show. It’s impossible to experience everything in one visit – or even two or three – and the plan is to so dazzle audiences that they will return again and again.
Ready to Utilize Our Beautiful Space Every Day of the Week
Our greatest asset is the venue itself. People fall in love with the authentic detail and the secret pass-throughs, and imagine hosting their own events. But there are other assets as well. The characters, the costumes, the cocktail menu. And our brand reputation. So we are using these assets to create satellite programming, special events, and private events in the space.
We just booked our first wedding, and we’ve hosted several birthday parties, and corporate events. There’s even a bar mitzvah on the schedule.
We’ve received lots of corporate leads through our ticket buyers. After they’ve seen the show, they start thinking about what a great place this is for a company party or a client entertainment event.
New programming ideas include Neo Vaudeville, Havana Nights, and Drag Brunch. Most of these can be produced with little investment by the company, and will bring new audiences through our doors.
Hear From the Critics
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ The San Francisco Chronicle Gave Us Its Highest Rating
Part of what makes The Speakeasy such a special event are the number of intricate layers revealed — about the storyline, the set, and your experience with both — as you go along. You’re given passwords and strict instructions on staying mum over the course of the evening..."
- The Bold Italic
I spent a lot of time trying to find The Next Big Thing in theater. Boxcar Theatre's new production, The Speakeasy, is giving the S.F. theater scene some much-needed much ado...I am thrilled to say that The Speakeasy makes a strong case for being the best bar in San Francisco."
- SF Weekly
Hear From Our Fans
Our fans say it's an experience like no other and will come back for more.
"The Speakeasy went above and beyond expectations, the actors were brilliant and the detail was impressive. No matter what, everyone will have a unique experience as the immersive play surrounds you and can shift and change. It's fun following the story line and comparing notes with your friends at the end."
- Hannah W.
The ambiance at The Speakeasy is incredible. You really feel like you've gone back in time. The full theatrical experience of the event is so hard to describe because every time you go, you'll have a different experience. I expect I'll be returning again and again. And I look forward to introducing all my friends to this amazing time warp."
- David A R.
Have a Look Behind the Curtain
The Speakeasy takes you back in time. Don't believe us? Take a peak below.
Invest, and Join the Show
Dear investors and theatre fanatics,
We’re crowdfunding because so many of our fans – audience members, performers, even our banker and insurance agent! – were so in love with the first production that they wanted to help the new version thrive. This is so much more than an investment that you only connect with once a month when they email you a PDF statement.
This is an investment you can touch, you can sip, you can immerse yourself in, you can talk about and share with others. Check out our investor benefits. They’re intended to make you feel like big deal every time you come to visit us – and you are!
Meet the Founders
and the rest of the team
From 374+ Investors
million in tickets, and have had more than 15,000 people attend the show. And
attendance is growing. During 2016, paid attendance was 64% of capacity. For
the first quarter of 2017, paid attendance was 76% of capacity. But there’s
room to grow even more. We’ve been performing 2-3 shows per week, but we can
expand to four shows or even five as demand increases.
It's pretty great. We've got more Instagram followers (1,030) than almost every other theatre in the Bay Area, with more than 200 posts of custom made or vintage content. Our Facebook rating is 4.9 stars with 164 reviews, including 155 5-star reviews; last month our Facebook posts reached over 44,000 people, and our company page has more than 3,800 likes. On Yelp, we have 139 reviews and a 4.5-star rating. TripAdvisor has ranked us #11 out of 93 listings in the "Concert and Shows" category for San Francisco, and TripAdvisor users have given us a 5-star rating with 64 reviews.
Number two, expand our marketing reach. Our early marketing efforts have focused on building a strong social media presence, and now we're increasing our investment in online and social advertising. To convert the increased online engagement into sales, we have launched a new website that is more informative and reduces friction in the purchase process. We expect that in the long term, half our sales will be to local residents, and half will be to tourists. To engage the visitor market, we have partnered with SF Travel (the local convention and visitors bureau), the local hotel concierge association, tour operators, and sightseeing bus operators. We've also launched our first outdoor advertising campaign, focused specifically on areas of the city frequented by tourists.
Over the lifetime of this production, there might be 15 or 20 actors playing a single role. We put a lot of effort into making sure that each one will come in knowing exactly who that character is, what is his back-story, and how does every moment get played. We want to keep the heart of it constant, so the show you see today will be the show you see in 10 years. Think of it as controlled chaos.
Then you have the twenty-five year olds, and they’re running from room to room chasing a story, or maybe peeping through the two-way mirror in the dressing room because they want to see a hot chorus girl scene. Some people really get drawn in by the craps or blackjack tables. Some people approach it as a nightclub experience. There’s something for everyone.
Some of the costumes come with built-in characters, so you're guaranteed to be part of a scene. There's one for Sal's lawyer, and at a certain point, you'll get pulled into Sal's office, and he'll say to you, "You bring the contracts?" And you've got them, they're already tucked into the breast pocket of your suit. And then a whole scene plays out while you and Sal talk about the contracts. There's one where you get to be the mayor of San Francisco, Sunny Jim. You drink for free all night and everyone is excited to meet you. There's ten of these costumed characters every night.
We're also going to get our hands on some classic cars, Model A's or Model T's. In the upper-tier VIP packages, you get picked up in a Model A and driven to a fantastic meal in North Beach before the show.
And of course there's a VIP menu once you get to the show. Caviar, vintage wines. We're even going to try to get our hands on a bottle from 1923.
The rest we pulled together: $50,000 from the City of San Francisco to compensate us for our eviction, a $50,000 line of credit from Wells Fargo, $90,000 in equipment financing, a $150,000 loan from one of the Managing Members, and a $225,000 tenant improvement allowance from our landlord. Boxcar also contributed some of its retained earnings.
We are looking to raise another $500,000 to $700,000. In addition to this revenue share debt offering on WeFunder, we have also opened another private placement equity offering. We are calling it Series C and it is only open to accredited investors with a $25,000 minimum investment, and is being offered directly by the company.
The funds currently being raised will also help shore up our balance sheet, by providing working capital and an operating reserve, reducing accounts payable, and replacing short term debt.
This is the kind of thing that locals are going to want to share with their out-of-town guests. Your friends come to visit, and you say, "Oh my god, we have this thing here called 'The Speakeasy', you have to go, and I haven't been for a year myself so I'll come with you!"
In the long run we see our audience as 50% local, 50% tourist. We'll be doing a lot of outreach to the tourist market, through traditional outlets like the concierges and the CVB, and also through social media. We already have a great relationship with AirBNB, people keep showing up at our Club 1923 events saying that AirBNB put us on their itinerary.
The biggest piece of luck in this whole process was stumbling into this building and the building owners. Chris Wight and Jeff Lee are unbelievably creative, generous and experienced. They’ve been in the real estate game for something like thirty years each, and have done a lot of formula retail, strip malls in Stockton and that sort of thing. They were ready for something more creative. They attached themselves to us and our vision and said, “Yes, we want this in our building. What can we do to make it happen?”
The location is incredible. We're on Broadway, steps from the intersection of Columbus, on the border between San Francisco's Chinatown and North Beach neighborhoods. Columbus and Broadway has been the crossroads of history, culture, and entertainment in San Francisco for more than 100 years. This is where the Beat movement started. It was a hot-bed of filmmaking in the 1970s and 80s. Francis Ford Coppola's building is here. Back in the 1800s, this area was known as the Barbary Coast. We're around the corner from Beach Blanket Babylon, an only-in-San-Francisco theatrical phenomenon that has been running for more than 40 years. We hope to follow in their illustrious footsteps.
The anchor tenant in our building is called China Live, an incredibly designed Asian food-and-shopping experience. It's modeled on Eataly in New York. They're taking up three floors of the building. On the first floor you can get small plates of the best Asian street food from Shanghai to Hong Kong to Singapore. There's also a retail shop where you can buy Asian foodstuffs and cooking equipment. On the second floor, they're going to have two different cocktail lounges and a private-dining restaurant that only has eight exclusive tables. The third floor is going to have a banquet hall for special events. China Live is going to be a huge tourist draw itself, and we've been talking with them about all the different ways we can partner.
But, we also want to scale up massively. We see Speakeasies in Chicago, New York, Toronto and London, maybe even places like Austin and Detroit, where tech startups are starting to concentrate. But we also want to extend the Speakeasy concept into retail and restaurants. If this show is a $3 million project, we could see Chicago being a $75 million, or even $100 million venture to build this crazy complex of barber shops, vintage clothing shops, hat shops, old-style diners, and vintage bars, all with secret entrances that lead into a massive immersive theatre environment, with underground escape tunnels that let you emerge blocks away. After that, we want our own Speakeasy cruise ship.
Being a debtholder has some advantages over being an equityholder. Your return on investment (and return of investment) comes from gross revenues, rather than net profits. You also have priority over equityholders in the event of a bankruptcy (although this revenue share loan is subordinate to the $1,000,000 California Bank of Commerce loan and certain other debts). In the event that the business is wildly successful, and you get repaid your 2x investment sooner than expected, your annual ROI will increase dramatically.
Please note that the company's only activity is to produce the San Francisco production of The Speakeasy. It will not produce the play in any other cities and it does not own the underlying intellectual property. Repayment of your loan will only be made from revenue associated with the San Francisco production.
A separate company will be formed for each new production in other cities. This is typical in commercial theater, and we’re following the same practice, because we’re going to need liquid cash each time. Instead of diluting the original company every time, we’ll just form a new company to raise additional capital.
This also gives us an opportunity to reach out to local investors in each new city, and develop our community of local supporters and fans. When the time comes, if you would like to make an additional investment in the continued growth of The Speakeasy, we’d be honored to have you along for the ride.