Even as Union Square’s imperiled Gold Dust Lounge struggles to find new tactics to keep the beloved bar from closing, owners of the building are saying that the eviction’s a done deal, and that supporters of the bar need to leave them the hell alone, or risk a brush with the law.
Last month we reported that the Gold Dust will be evicted from its current Union Square location at 247 Powell Street by March 7.
“The Gold Dust is a wonderful bar, but its lease is up,” Sam Singer, spokesman for building owner John Handlery told the Appeal. “This place is through for here… there’s no hope for the Gold Dust Lounge to remain in this space. It needs to move.”
The terms of the bar’s lease allow the landlord to evict the tenant with 90 days notice, Singer noted. That notice was delivered in early December, and a new, unnamed tenant had signed a long-term lease as of our report January 20.
The Chron confirms today that it’s a done deal, and that the new tenant, who is still unnamed as “the tenant wants to announce their arrival, rather than having anyone else do it,” is set to move in.
But that didn’t stop supporters of the bar from appearing before San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday, in an effort to gain support for classifying the Union Square lounge as a historic landmark.
The Weekly reports that while the bar itself may not qualify under SF’s preservation rules, some of the bar’s decor might fit the bill.
“The wall coverings, the chandeliers, and Herb Caen’s historic bar stool would be preserved as historical landmarks in San Francisco,” Lee Houskeeper, a publicist for the bar told the Weekly.
Even if the commission does not support the proposal to give the bar special status, the people behind the proposal say they can explore other avenues, such as getting the Board of Supervisors to take action.
According to Chris Ver Plank, a preservation historian who acted to save the Fairmont Hotel’s Tonga Room when development threatened the tiki bar, he and local singer/songwriter Catherine Hill made their presentation before the commission assuming that the commission probably will not take action, he said.
“It’s important to try that route rather than going above their heads with the Board of Supervisors,” Ver Plank said, noting that the group believes they have “a lot of support” among the supervisors.
But other supporters are reportedly taking a less legislative approach — according to the Chron, Gold Dust supporters have threatened Handlery. Singer tells the Chron that “several people entered the Handlery Hotel last week covered in gold dust and told the clerk at the front desk that ‘it was going to get ugly.'”
Houskeeper tells the Chron that SFPD approached one of the Gold Dust’s owners after a call from Handlery, who was concerned about the Gold Dust Rush Pub Crawl planned for Saturday.
Houskeeper told the Chron “Handlery purportedly told police he was worried ‘that we’re going to occupy him.'”
Gold-dusted Occupation aside, the efforts to save the bar include a Facebook page and Twitter account, as well as a newly created online store, where supporters can purchase Save The Gold Dust merchandise.
Should both the board and the commission fail to support the movement to save the bar, Lee Houskeeper, a publicist for the bar said that the group also plans to take legal action to slow down the eviction process.
“We’re not just a bunch of hippies banking on good luck and good fortune,” he said.