The Gold Dust Lounge controversy is one that did not have to be. The owners of the bar currently located on 247 Powell St, just two blocks up from Powell Street BART, is now operating under an expired lease. But rather than move, as the space’s owners Handlery Hotels, the owners, The Bovis Brothers, are leading a sprited battle to remain in the space. It’s a fight that’s sadly turned into a political one, with some supporters confusing the issue with a liberal / conservative activist battle.
Folks, relax. Please. It’s a business that has to move, and the good news is there’s plenty of space in San Francisco and right there at Union Square. Moreover, the famous Tadich Grill has moved not once, but six times over its storied history. If the Tadich can relocate that many times and still maintain its popularity, why not the Gold Dust Lounge?
The simple fact is the reason the bar’s not being allowed to remain at that space is it’s not making as much money for its owners as another use, in this case retail, would. I’ve been to the Gold Dust Lounge on several occasions, and while it’s an interesting little spot, it’s in bad need of a massive upgrade. If that allows it to get historic status, as we will learn April 4th, so be it. But I see no reason why The Gold Dust Lounge can’t emerge bigger and better in another spot.
Yes, much of the Gold Dust Lounge’s appeal is that it’s a dive bar. But “dive” does not have to mean dingy and appealing to a “more mature” crowd. A popular place is just that, regardless. It’s a matter of the bartenders and the patrons.
Where could the Gold Dust Lounge go? Well, there 600 Jackson available, and right next to my favorite, Kell’s Irish Bar in North Beach. There’s also 785 Columbus, a prime corner property also in North Beach.
It’s admittedly hard to find space in Union Square, but all it takes is effort, imagination, and money. 71 Powell St is 12,500 spaces and retail, but that could be adjusted to fit a small bar, and is just doors down the street from the existing Gold Dust Lounge.
The point is, the Gold Dust Lounge doesn’t have to die. It can live on in a new space. That’s not to say I will be unhappy if they win their declaration as a historic space, but to me, if the landlord wants to put something in that makes more money, that’s their right. It would be different if the Gold Dust Lounge could show the Handlery’s were a bad landlord while the Bovis’ were paying rent, but that argument hasn’t been made.
Being asked to leave a space because a lease is up doesn’t mean the landlord is bad; it means the business isn’t making money and the landlord needed to take action. If the Bovis Brothers had been less openly confrontational, a deal could have been worked out.
America’s Cup San Francisco Lays Off 28
Sad news from the San Francisco America’s Cup effort. 28 people are being let go in the wake of a large budget cut, courtesy of the City of San Francisco’s reduced budget. And one of them is Stephanie Martin, the excellent Director of Communications who I interviewed last year, here:
Which leads to a question: who’s going to handle the communications effort for San Francisco’s America’s Cup 2013? Maybe they should hire Martin back in some way. It just seems weird. Like the staff cuts were made without asking “So, what are we going to do about…”
Ross Mirkarimi And My Video
I said I was going to stay away from this, but I have to reflect on just how weird it was to have an interview with now San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi during the campaign, that starts off with us (you and I) meeting Ross’ wife and very cute son at the start of it. It’s not the first time I’ve interviewed or video blogged Ross, but it is the first time his family was included They looked so adorable, the trio; a direct contrast to the story to come.
I personally hope Ross overcomes whatever combination of sprits and demons led to the creation of this sad episode in his life. But the question is how far will Mayor Lee go in trying to oust Ross? Can he get the 3/4th votes he needs from the Board Of Supervisors?
It’s a risk for Mayor Lee. Can you imagine if Lee pushes the matter to the Board Of Supervisors and loses? Now Lee faces a re-energized Ross, nostril-flaring, smoke-blowing, pissed off, and loaded for political bear. I’m almost wishing the Mayor would push the whole deal just to see all of this play out.
One thing I learned at last year’s November 7th San Francisco Democratic Party Luncheon (on the same day I was later blocked from posting at SFGate.com for insisting on blogging that Rick Perry should be asked about a ‘gay relationship’ with his Secretary of State in 2005) is that Ross does have his share of enemies. While “local A-List” politicians like California Attorney General Kamela Harris were making their way into Aventine, Ross was on a giant voters truck that made not one, but three – yeah, three – circles around the block.
The move was considered obnoxious by one long time Democratic Central Committee player, who then proceeded to give me the once-over yelling about Ross being “two-faced” after I talked about why he was the right choice for sheriff. While I have no regrets with my choice, I can’t help but feel that on some level she was right. Still, Ross deserves the chance to clear his name, and not be thrown into the trash can so quickly. Ultimately, Ross’ future should be up to his wife; Mayor Lee should make her word his guide.
SF Moscone Center Expansion Needs To Be Completed, Fast
Time files. Last week this blogger was in Anaheim to attend the WonderCon that would have been in San Francisco, but for the expansion of the facility’s South Hall as part of a $56 million program, $28 million of which has already been spent. According to the plan, the entire program is to be finished by June of 2012. Here’s what’s being done as of this writing:
Install Movable Walls at South & North; Life
Paint Moscone South Exhibit Halls &
Remodel (8) Restrooms at Moscone North $ 1.3M
Complete all design Complete
Replace Movable Walls in Meeting Rooms and
Upgrade interior finishes: Carpet, painting,
lighting, doors, replacement of graphics & code
signage, various ADA upgrades, elevators and
escalators modernization, life safety upgrades
Upgrade interior finishes in Gateway Ballroom,
remodel (6) restrooms, continue working on
replacement of graphics & code signage,
various ADA upgrades, Cooling towers
Upgrade interior finishes in the Main Lobbies,
remodel the remaining restrooms in Moscone
South, installation of Kiosks, and Wireless
communication in Moscone West, North &
If the actual work is finished on schedule, that will be well outside the six-month window Comic Con International’s David Glanzer said was a little “last minute” to declare the facility ready for WonderCon 2013. Here’s Glanzer on the subject:
And how do seasoned WonderCon attendees feel about the Anaheim version? Well, here’s a debate I started on the question while at WonderCon in Anaheim:
If the Moscone Center Expansion is finished by June 2012, that’s a full four months ahead of the six month time frame Glanzer points to. Ideally, Moscone Center should be able to schedule WonderCon 2013, which means WonderCon will be back in San Francisco.