Famous S.F. bar fighting to stay open
San Francisco residents are rallying behind an effort by the Gold Dust Lounge to stay open, after the owners were told that their lease had been terminated.
More than 4,500 supporters on Facebook are backing the push. A preservationist is trying to get it deemed a landmark. Others have written songs and designed T-shirts in support.
The owners, Jim and Tasios Bovis, who have run the place since 1966, were told that the landlords want to close the Gold Dust to make room for a fashion store.
The Greek-born octogenarians countered by filing a financial elder abuse lawsuit that claims a termination clause was added deceptively to their lease.
Former Mayor Willie Brown, who for decades frequented the Powell Street lounge with the late San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen, is urging a compromise. "There are some things for which capitalists should make exceptions," he wrote in a recent newspaper column. "The Gold Dust is one of them."
Former San Francisco supervisor and state Sen. Quentin Kopp has lined up behind the landlord. If anyone knows the city's bars, he said, it's him, "and I never heard of the Gold Dust Lounge. There's nothing extraordinary about it."
— Lee Romney
Photo: A crowd fills the Gold Dust Lounge. The brothers who have run the bar for more than four decades have refused to leave. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times