SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — With the scheduled eviction date for San Francisco’s historic Gold Dust Lounge looming near, a local CBS Radio personality has taken to airwaves and online in an effort to rally grassroots support to save the landmark Union Square bar.

“The quest to save this great old bar continues. If you’ve ever had a drink (I’ve always been prone to take advantage of their champagne and Irish Coffee specials) at this Union Square legend, do what you can to keep it around,” Jayn from Alice@97.3 wrote Wednesday in a blog post entitled “Save San Francisco’s Gold Dust Lounge!” on the radio station’s website.

The post includes a link to the Gold Dust’s website, where people are urged to sign a petition to save it and listen to a song extolling the virtues of the lounge.

But Radio Alice’s Jayn isn’t the only high-profile supporter of the Gold Dust. The iconic bar’s March 10 eviction notice to make way for clothing retailer The Limited has gained considerable attention from the city’s politicians too.

“It’s an important part of the fabric of not just what Union Square is about, but what San Francico is about,” Board of Supervisors President David Chiu noted recently, joining a chorus of voices that have asked Gold Dust landlord Jon Handlery to reconsider the lease cancellation.

The bar has operated in its location at 247 Powell Street since 1966, and it has been frequented by celebrities such as Steve McQueen and Janis Joplin over the years. Prolific San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen, who died in 1997, also frequented the lounge – and his “ghost resides on the last stool in the back,” claims Lee Housekeeper, a spokesman for the Gold Dust.

“We have been a good landlord and the Gold Dust has been a good tenant, but their lease is up and it’s time for them to go,” Sam Singer, a spokesman for Handlery Properties, told CBS San Francisco in a written statement.

Singer indicated that Gold Dust owners Jim and Taslo Bovis had known for the past seven years that the bar’s lease could be terminated at any time with 90 days notice; he said they signed lease agreements containing the termination clause in 2005 and again last year.

He suggested that perhaps other nearby locations operated by the Bovises could provide a new home for the Gold Dust.

“The Gold Dust Lounge could take space next to Lefty O’Douls (restaurant and bar), a space they already lease,” said Singer. “The future of the Gold Dust is in their hands. They just can’t continue to lease the space they are in (currently).”

(Copyright 2012 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)

Comments (6)
  1. JaneQPublic says:

    Do these fools (landlords) really think a clothing store is going to have the same ‘draw’ as the Gold Dist Lounge??????????

    I think not. I’ve seen several go under in a few short years in this area – shoe store, clothing – just doesn’t bode well. I’m guessing this is just another GREEDY landlord who wants to evict the present tenants so he can jack up the rent.

  2. JQP says:

    Correction: Gold DUST Lounge

  3. jnewman says:

    Handlery Properties should be run out of town. (Its radio ads alone are enough to make a jackal retch.) Just what Powell Street needs-another corporate retail clothing outlet. Can you say, Greedy? Of course, no San Franciscan stays at the Handlery Inn, anyway. Disgusting.

  4. s.f. peaches says:

    Unfortunately, property owners and management companies have the real power. Their priorities rarely reflect the integrity of a neighborhood, but they hold the purse strings. The only way tenants can ensure they won’t be used as doormats is to buy the property. Now, that’s simple, isn’t it? All you have to do is acquire a whole bunch of money and hope the landlord is willing to sell.