Gold Dust Lounge Must Meet March Deadline to Vacate Handlery

By Andrew Ross – SF Chronicle, January 19, 2012

In which we attend a press conference at Herb Caen’s favorite bar, thrown by supporters trying to head off its eviction after 36 years on Powell Street.

The place was packed with many attendees sporting “Save the Gold Dust” T-shirts. There to voice their support were Supervisors Scott Wiener, David Chiu, and Jane Kim, who was Acting Mayor for the day. (Ed Lee was in Washington).

The bar, said Chiu, to cheers, “is an important part of the fabric of Union Square and of San Francisco. We’re just asking the landlord to come back to the table.” Kim echoed the sentiment, and signed off by wishing Janis Joplin, one of Gold Dust’s former celebrity patrons, happy birthday. (She would have been 69 today).

Up next was PR maven, Sam Singer, speaking for the landlord, Handlery Hotel, which owns several buildings in the area. He was straight and to the point. “The lease is up. This place is through this year,” he said, to a chorus of boos.

Singer explained that the bar’s proprietors — as my column reported last week — had signed a clause allowing the landlord to give them 90 days notice if another business wanted to take over the space. (Apparently it’s not, as had been reported, The Limited).

There is space nearby owned by the Handlery Hotel, which the bar is welcome to take over, should the existing tenants agree, he said. Perhaps at Lefty O’Douls around the corner, which the bar’s proprietors also lease.

And there, basically, it was left, apart from patrons sticking around for the 25 cent drinks on offer.

I heard talk of a lawsuit being filed, and a push to protect the bar under the city’s historic preservation ordinance.

We’ll see.

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