Eagle Tavern Replacement Delayed as Activists Successfully Stall Liquor License Approval

Photo: Wolftag/Flickr

Fans of the old Eagle Tavern in SoMa, some of whom have been very vocally opposed to a new heterosexual regime taking over and gentrifying the place in a way they don’t approve of, won a battle in yesterday’s Board of Supervisors meeting by successfully getting the liquor license approval delayed until September. The LGBT group intent on “saving” the Eagle — which closed last year but which a group of former employees was hoping to reopen — gathered support at yesterday’s meeting of the Supes’ City Operations Committee to call for the denial of a liquor license transfer to a group of new owners, which includes an investor in Foreign Cinema, Bruce McDonald. According to CBS, openly gay Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos were on the side of the protesters, saying that if the bar became a straight establishment it would be “a huge loss to the gay community.”

In the end, the committee continued the decision until September, telling the new owners that they will need to go out and get more support from the community if they hope to continue with their project.

The new proposed bar, which has no name yet and no defined concept (at least not one that’s been shared with the public), would have a food component, and one person at City Hall had heard that there was a hope of screening movies on the outdoor patio as well. The new tenants have denied that that is the case, however the involvement of one of the owners of Vessel nightclub, as well as a local DJ, indicate that a club of some kind is probably part of the plan. And while McDonald is connected to Foreign Cinema, the managing partners at Foreign Cinema (Gayle Pirie and John Clark) are not at all involved with the new project.

According to a realtor who worked on the deal with the new operators and the property owner, the group of former Eagle employees had been in a tense negotiation with the owner for a year before he decided he did not want to sign a lease with them — primarily because they could not agree to financial terms, and because the negotiations had turned unpleasant.

LGBT activists believe that the bar should have some sort of landmarks protection, however much of the bar’s eclectic, license-plate-covered interior was already gutted earlier this year as it was being put on the market to new tenants. They have cited, among other things, the fact that the ashes of people who died during the AIDS crisis were scattered there as a reason why it should be a protected space that remains LGBT-focused.

LGBT Activists Demand Preservation For Vacant Eagle Tavern In SF [CBS]
Earlier: Exclusive: Eagle Tavern May Become Upscale Restaurant and Bar From Foreign Cinema Investor
The Eagle, Scrubbed Of Its Leather and License Plates, Up for Lease

Eagle Tavern Replacement Delayed as Activists Successfully Stall Liquor License