San Francisco's Gold Dust Lounge finds a new home
San Francisco’s Gold Dust Lounge, in a fight for its life since octogenarian owners Jim and Tasios Bovis were hit with an eviction notice in March, served last call at its beloved Union Square digs Wednesday and announced an upcoming move to the tourist heavy Fisherman’s Wharf.
The plight of the kitschy cocktail lounge, run by the Bovis brothers since 1966, had captured the hearts of thousands of supporters after it was announced that landlord Handlery Hotels Inc. planned to replace the bar with the retailer Express. Nastiness ensued: The Bovis brothers sued Handlery -- alleging financial elder abuse -- for purportedly sneaking an early termination clause into the lease. Handlery, which denied the allegation, counter-sued.
Though the lawsuits still are wending their way through the courts, the Bovis family opted to move. Final drinks were poured Wednesday night at the lounge, which sports a ceiling painted with voluptuous nudes and cherubs. The bar will move to a temporary space inside Lefty O’Doul’s –- another cherished San Francisco imbibing institution run by the Bovis family -- while the decor is removed and re-installed in a new Fisherman’s Wharf location. It is expected to open in about four months.
Lee Houskeeper, a spokesman for the Gold Dust, called the move “a new lease on life.” Sam Singer, spokesman for Handlery, countered that the brothers should have vacated in March, when the lease expired.
One long-time patron sipping a final drink Wednesday quipped to the San Francisco Examiner that with the Gold Dust’s departure, San Francisco’s storied Union Square is now nothing more than “a union for squares.”
-- Lee Romney in San Francisco
Photo: A crowd fills the Gold Dust Lounge. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times