Gold Dust Lounge Supporters to Landlord: ‘This Is Going to Get Ugly’

A band of boozehounds, on a mission...
A band of boozehounds, on a mission…

We San Franciscans do dearly love our bars! But can a rallying of community support actually save the place? As we mentioned last month, Union Square’s historic and beloved Gold Dust Lounge is facing eviction in March, and efforts by fans to somehow save it have seemed hopeless. Landlord Jon Handlery has a new, unnamed retail tenant lined up, and it’s all been handled totally legally. But now according to the Appeal, Handlery has told the SFPD that he fears he and the Handlery Hotel are going to “get occupied” during this Gold Dust Rush Pub Crawl on Saturday. And furthermore, some protesters covered in gold dust showed up in the lobby of the hotel last week telling a clerk, “This is going to get ugly.”

If you want to join the cause, you can like this Facebook page and buy a Save the Gold Dust t-shirt, and you can even douse yourself in glitter and camp out at the Handlery, but the law’s the law, right?

Well, at least a couple of folks took the case before the Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday, arguing for the significance of things like Herb Caen’s bar stool and a number of interior elements. (We should note the official record dates the bar to 1933 but, by some accounts, it has been a drinking establishment continuously since around 1906, serving right through Prohibition, when they were likely offering medicinal Fernet in coffee mugs, or similar.) Preservationist Chris Ver Plank, whom you may remember from his passionate involvement in the case to save the Tonga Room (which was saved not because of preservation efforts but because negotiations broke down with the hotel workers’ union over closing a large portion of the Fairmont), was the one making Wednesday’s presentation, and while he doesn’t expect the commission to act in this case, he says it was a necessary step before heading to the Board of Supervisors, where he believes they have “a lot of support” for saving the Gold Dust.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the bar, Lee Housekeeper, says there’s a method to the madness here, and their first goal right now is just to slow down the eviction process. “We’re not just a bunch of hippies banking on good luck and good fortune,” he says. Heh.

We look forward to seeing how this plays out.

Gold Dust Lounge Landlords Reportedly Call Cops, Worried About Supporters’ Pub Crawl [SF Appeal]
Earlier: Historic Gold Dust Lounge May Close In a Couple of Months
The Full Case for Saving the Tonga Room

Gold Dust Lounge Supporters to Landlord: ‘This Is Going to Get Ugly’