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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gold Dust Lounge Requests Historic Landmark Designation

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 3:10 PM

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In effort to keep the iconic Gold Dust Lounge from shuttering, the bar owners have filed paperwork requesting the city recognize the bar as a historic landmark. Such a designation would, at the very least, make it more challenging for the landlord to turn the bar into a retail shop as proposed.

According to Lee Houskeeper, spokesman for the Gold Dust Lounge, the bar itself is not necessarily historic, but there are enough elements inside the 1,100-square-foot bar to make it a landmark that can't be easily altered.

"The wall coverings, the chandeliers, and Herb Caen's historic bar

stool would be preserved as historical landmarks in San Francisco," Houskeeper noted. Even the different eras of Dixieland music played inside the bar could be qualifiers, he said.

To show they are serious, the bar's owners and supporters went before the city's Historic Preservation Commission today, asking that the group consider the designation. If the commission signs off on it, the request would then go to Supervisor Jane Kim, who is reportedly working on legislation of her own to preserve the popular watering hole.

Calls to Kim have not yet been returned. However, Houskeeper says the legislation could go before the Board of Supervisors as early as next week.

How this could delay the planned March 6 eviction is unclear. Housekeeper says while the business might still get the boot, the landlord, John Handlery, cannot make changes to the interior until a decision is made about the historic status. Handlery had plans to gut the inside of the bar, and add an escalator.

"He wouldn't be able to put an escalator in there; he would have to preserve this building as it," Houskeeper told us. "If he wants to make changes, he would have to go to the city."

Sam Singer, spokesman for the landlord, brushed off the historic status claims, saying that the bar is nothing more than a tourist dive. "It's not historic," Singer told SF Weekly. "This is a publicity stunt to sell beer and liquor and t-shirts for their going-out-of-business sale."

"I don't believe you can give a historic landmark status to something that's a

tourist bar anymore than you could give it to a t-shirt shop on Fisherman's Wharf."

Of course, that's up to the city's historians to decide.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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