Supporters of Union Square’s Gold Dust Lounge were shown the door by The City’s Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday, which voted 5-2 against granting the bar landmark status as part of a flagging effort to save it from eviction.
Commissioners noted the popular outcry in support of the bar, which has been at Geary and Powell streets since 1966, but the general view was that it didn’t meet the criteria for a historic city landmark.
Even if it were declared a landmark, Commissioner Andrew Wolfram noted, the owners could still be evicted.
“We are talking about something San Franciscan, something uniquely San Franciscan,” said Commissioner Alan Martinez, one of the two dissenters. He moved to have the commission send a letter explaining its decision to the Board of Supervisors.
“I think that it’s important that we continue to preserve pieces of old San Francisco,” said Supervisor Christina Olague, who has talked of trying to save the lounge.
After the bar’s lease ran out a few months ago, the landlords notified bar owners James and Tasios Bovis of a pending eviction. The space is to be replaced with a retail clothing store, according to consultant Sam Singer, who represents the Handlery family, which owns the building.
“They’ve now lost landmark designation,” Singer said after Wednesday’s hearing. “It’s time to move the bar to another location, where all the people who love the bar can continue to participate in drinking and merriment.”
The brothers still have a pending lawsuit against the Handlery family for breach of contract and elder abuse. Eviction proceedings also are ongoing.