The Gold Dust Lounge was a beehive of activity midday Thursday as workers screwed light bulbs into brass fixtures while putting the finishing touches on the new Fisherman’s Wharf location.
The fixtures were moved over from the bar’s old location in Union Square, said bartender Mike Bowens. The red banquettes lining the wall of the bar and the painted ceiling are new, but are styled in the fashion of the former location, which shuttered in May after the landlord ended the lease. Also included in the move were salvageable tables, columnist Herb Caen’s barstool and artwork.
“I think most people’s hearts are going to be left at that old location just because it was there for so long,” Bowens said. “But I think there is enough here that we brought to give it the feel. Everything they’ve done is to replicate the old place.”
The Gold Dust Lounge opened in Union Square in 1966, taking the place of several incarnations of drinking establishments. Notable patrons through the years included Caen, a regular, and musician Janis Joplin.
Bowens said he expects many old regulars at the new location, though he knows the trek is too much for some of the older clientele. He added that there is an entire industry on the northern waterfront, including fishermen, that will now have a place to drink.
The new location features an expanded performance space for live acts and flat-screen televisions behind the bar, which is equipped with new amenities for the bartenders.
“I loved the old location, but that was one thing I really hated: worrying about what I had to fix today when I came into work,” Bowens said.
The new location is scheduled to open tonight after a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the afternoon that will include a covered-wagon procession from the old location to the new one, according to Lee Housekeeper, a spokesman for the bar.
Bowens said he looks forward to pouring the Gold Dust’s specialty on opening night.
“Obviously Irish coffee,” Bowens said, before stepping away to orchestrate the setup of the bar.