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Gold Dust Lounge Saved (At Least Temporarily)

Gold Dust Lounge San Francisco

First Posted: 03/ 9/2012 8:20 pm Updated: 03/ 9/2012 8:20 pm

Good news (almost) everybody! It looks like The Gold Dust Lounge won't be closing its doors this weekend after all.

A post on the beloved Union Square dive bar's website on Friday revealed that, due to pending litigation between bar owners James and Tasios Bovis and landlord Jon Handlery, bar will not be shut down for good on Saturday as was previously planned:

Attorney Joe Cotchett of Cotchett, Pitre & MCarthy is telling the Bovis Brothers and Gold Dust Lounge employees that [sic] they’re doors will not be padlocked this weekend (as threatened by San Singer and Jon Handlery) and Sheriff Mikarimi has no court order to evict. Cotchett [sic] say's that as long as the litigation continues, no judge will put the wonderful Bovis brothers on the street and the GOLD DUST LOUNGE Will CONTINUE TO OPERATE AS USUAL.

Instead of closing forever, the Gold Dust will be throwing an all-day party with live music and dollar vodkas, which sounds like a lot more fun than being evicted.

Even so, the Gold Dust isn't out of hot water yet. The local institution could still be out of luck if the lawsuit doesn't go the owners' way.

Fighting the Gold Dust's eviction has become a cause celebre for many San Franciscans who see the bar, which has been owned by the Bovis brothers for nearly half a century, as one of the city's last "charmingly seedy" vestiges.

The bar's lease came up last December, and Handlery informed the Bovis brothers they would soon have to vacate the premises to make room for a higher paying tenant, reportedly clothing retailer The Express.

Earlier this year, the brothers filed suit against Handlery in an attempt to block the eviction claiming that modifications made to bar's lease allowing for the eviction were fraudulently obtained and that Handlery's treatment of the Bovis brothers qualified as elder abuse.

"This case can be summarized in two words--greed and deceit," wrote the Bovis's lawyer in the complaint. "Handlery was able to get away with these changes because the Bovises were of advanced age, and because they trusted that Handlery still operated with the same integrity as it had for decades."

Bay City News reports:

The spokesman for the Handlery family, Sam Singer, called the lawsuit "straight from 'The Twilight Zone'" and "an irresponsible abuse of the judicial system" for its alleged lack of merit.

"Their time would be better spent searching for a new home for the Gold Dust rather than filing fictitious lawsuits," Singer said.

A big part of the Gold Dust's charm was its popularity among celebrities. Over the years, the watering hole was a favorite of Tony Bennett, Janis Joplin, Roesmary Clooney, Fats Domino, legendary local columnist Herb Caen and former San Francisco mayors Willie Brown and George Moscone. Crooner Bring Crosby was also part-owner of a burlesque club on the property.

Check out this video detailing the history of the Gold Dust Lounge:

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Filed by Aaron Sankin  |