Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gold Dust Lounge Bites the Dust -- Sort Of

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 3:58 PM

click to enlarge San Francisco's preservationist are a bunch of party poopers
  • San Francisco's preservationist are a bunch of party poopers

Nobody wants to hear that their favorite watering hole is closing down, which is why we're not going to say the Gold Dust Lounge is shuttering -- at least not yet.

This afternoon, the city's Historic Preservation Commission voted against designating the popular bar as a historic landmark, claiming that doing so would not be effective in saving the bar -- and the commission is correct about that. Only a judge can decide whether or not the Gold Dust lounge will stay or go.

So while today's vote might read like bad news for the bar, the good news is that the battle isn't over. "We're still pouring," said Lee Housekeeper, spokesman for the bar. "And we will be pouring for some time to come."

The Gold Dust Lounge was never banking on the historic landmark status to save the iconic Union Square bar, but it certainly would have made life a little more difficult for the bar's landlord, Jon Handlery, who hopes to replace the bar with an Express clothing store.

The bitter land-use dispute started in January when Handlery claimed the Bovis brothers, who own the Gold Dust, knew all along that their lease was up in March. However, the Bovises -- both of whom are in their 80s -- say Handlery altered the terms of their lease without their knowledge. In other words, they're accusing their landlord of elder abuse.

The Gold Dust was supposed to serve its last drink on March 10 -- but instead of closing up the bar, the Bovises threw a "No Last Call" party to celebrate their defiance. Both  landlord and tenant have sued one another, and now a judge will decide the bar's fate. But that could take some time, Houskeeper said.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Christina Olague, a former planning commissioner, is hoping the San Francisco Board of Supervisors can do something to save the historic bar.

When SF Weekly spoke with Olague, at first she didn't sound hopeful, saying "This might be it" for the bar. But then the city supervisor called us back 15 minutes later and changed her tune, saying she had big plans to introduce legislation at Tuesday's Board meeting, in a last-ditch effort to save the bar.

"It's not over yet," Oalgue said.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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