Eagle Tavern Closes, But It Might Have Been an ‘Inside Job’ and May Still Reopen?

Photo: Dan Schreiber/Examiner

This past sunny Sunday was the first in a long, long time that the Eagle Tavern in SoMa hasn’t hosted one of its famed beer busts, and many in S.F.’s gay community are sad about that. As we reported earlier, the place had to close due to an alleged conflict between the bar owners and the landlord, and as previously announced they had to be out by month’s end — with Saturday night being the bar’s last night in business. But the story always sounded a little odd, given how much time elapsed between rumors of the bar’s closure and the follow-up rumors, over a year later, that the landlord was trying to push the gay bar out in order to bring a straight bar in. Also there was news that bar manager Ron Hennis and a partner wanted to buy out the rumored five-year lease, but were refused. Activist for the cause of saving the bar, Anna Conda (a.k.a. Glendon Hyde) attempts to get to the bottom of the convoluted tale in a post on Facebook, with which we must give the caveat that this is rumor and can’t be confirmed at this time.

“What if…” she postulates, “You own two bars in SOMA and you are a heavy drinker and poor business person. One bar called the Hole in the Wall is your baby and it just cost you a great deal of money to relocate it in the SOMA neighborhood. You want this bar to continue and can’t afford the second bar called the Eagle. You decide to sell the Eagle but during that time there is rampant problems created by this owner like inventory problems, rent not being paid for months and you decide it would be better to sell to a straight owner to cut down on competition for your bar the Hole in the Wall.”

Interesting stuff… and many in the community will likely feel betrayed if this rumor turns out to have legs, following the great deal of press attention and intervention by the Board of Supervisors that came along with the news that the 30-year-old institution was getting pushed out against its will.

Also, the Examiner notes some “ongoing negotiations” that manager Ron Hennis may still be having to reopen the Eagle, and Ms. Conda suggests that the reportedly interested parties, the owners of the Skylark, may have backed out of the deal to buy the bar after all the negative press.

We should add that another longtime gay bar, the former Transfer then briefly known as The Bar on Church, is in fact being replaced by a straight bar called Churchill’s, but this has so far caused little protest.

Historic San Francisco gay bar shuts its doors — at least for now [Examiner]
Earlier: Bar on Church Space to Become Churchill, and a Gay Bar No More [Grub Street]
Eagle Tavern to Remain Open At Least Through May, or for a Handful More Beer Busts [Grub Street]
Skylark Owners Looking to Take Eagle Tavern?; Eagle Supporters Rally at City Hall Today [Grub Street]

Eagle Tavern Closes, But It Might Have Been an ‘Inside Job’ and May