San Franciscans are very protective of their beloved watering holes. If someone tries to close a bar that's been around long enough to serve Anchor Steams to multiple generations of San Franciscans, at least some sort of massive stink will inevitably be made.
Last year, when the historic Gold Dust Lounge was evicted from the space near Union Square it had occupied for nearly eight decades, its closure drew protests, lawsuits alleging elder abuse, earnest folk songs and even input from the Board of Supervisors.
However, what ultimately saved one of the city's most iconic dive bars wasn't pressure on landlord to change his mind. Instead, it was an offer to re-open the bar in a new, larger space near Fisherman's Wharf.
This Friday marks the grand re-opening of an outpost that once served as the last lonely bastion of classic San Francisco in Union Square's sea of trendy chain retail stores.
"It's rare you get a new lease on life," the bar's publicist Lee Housekeeper told The Huffington Post when the move was first announced.
The opening was initially scheduled for January 11, but construction delays pushed that date back to the weekend of the Super Bowl. The bar officially closed its doors last May.
Bay City News notes that the new Fisherman's Wharf space is attempting to faithfully recreate its former location on Powell Street, even down to the same bar stools, plethora of red velvet and ornate, cherub-filled ceiling.
"MGM painted the ceiling, one of the L.A. movie companies, and they were able to create the atmosphere, so it's really important to keep it the bustles and boas era," Gold Dust owner Nick Bovis told SF Weekly. "The ceiling is the most important to recreate exactly the same."
A giant celebration of the move is planned for Friday afternoon, starting with a salute at the old Powell Street location at 3:15 p.m. followed by a trip by motorized cable car down to the new spot. A 4 p.m. ribbon-cutting will feature Mayor Ed Lee, Supervisors David Chiu, Jane Kim, Scott Weiner, Carmen Chu, London Breed and Norman Yee, SFPD Chief Greg Suhr, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, District Attorney George Gascon and State Senator Mark Leno.
The bar will open to the public at 7 p.m.