After it was announced Sunday that the Eagle, historic SoMa gay leather bar, would shut operations down on Friday, 4/29, some locals jumped into action. The Eagle will hold a community meeting tonight to discuss "strategies for fighting the Eagle's closure, as well as the ongoing crisis of loss of gay property ownership in San Francisco and the continuing erosion of our iconic gay bar scene." (Hopefully, anxious attendees can stay focused enough to come up with a strong, effective solution.) But really, what can be done to save the 30-year-old SoMa institution? From the look of it, not much.
Outside of the bar's noted Sunday Beer Bust and Thursday Night Live concert series, the Eagle never saw the same crowds that, say, Bloodhound, located just down the street on Folsom, culls on a nightly basis.
We spoke with concerned District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim this afternoon, who described the bar's closure as "really unfortunate." Kim told SFist that she plans to speak with (openly gay) Supervisor Scott Wiener more about the bar impact on the LGBT community and possible efforts to keep it open. In addition, she explained that her office is working on efforts to "preserve and protect" both the leather LGBT culture and Manillatown, two endangered SoMa communities in these trying artisan restaurant and NIMBY times.
Tim Frey of the SF Planning Department told SFist that, although the place was a stable for horse just after the Great Quake of 1906, having the bar itself deemed a landmark wold be "surprising." Frey explained, "The Eagle isn't elegible because the business is less than 50 years of age," so there's nothing preventing its demolition.
We should point out that, according to a manager at the Eagle we spoke with today, the landlord isn't homophobic or seeks to rid the area of a thriving/tipsy homosexual community. "He just wants to the bar space for himself," we're told. Several bar owners had been in escrow to buy the bar before they were told to close down for good.