Another one bites the dust, and this one's sad. One of the more charming remaining gay dives in the vicinity of Polk Street and the Tenderloin one of only two remaining holdouts, in fact, from the bygone era when Polk was a hustler-filled gay district has apparently been sold to straight owners, and seems likely to close very soon. Gangway, which has been a gay bar since at least 1961, and has been a bar for 106 years straight, since 1910, was on the market as of about six months ago according to Tablehopper, and via a liquor license license transfer application dated January 6, it looks like a bar called Daddy Bones may be the next business to take over or at least that's the working title right now.
As Ms. Tablehopper also notes, the new owner is a company with the ominous name of Breaking Chad, Inc. UGH.
Gangway is a well loved but rarely busy old-man bar which has consistently landed on SFist lists of beloved dives and Best Old Man Bars. And along with The Cinch, it's the last of two gay bars in the Polk Gulch environs, which was home to about a half dozen as recently as the last decade. In the 1960s and 70s, before the Castro became the city's gay ghetto, it was the Polk where the first Gay Pride parade happened, and where the center of gay life existed each night.
Sadly, even though San Francisco was once a city that boasted gay bars tucked into neighborhoods all over town, from the Financial District to Pacific Heights, that's no longer the case. Other holdouts like Marlena's in Hayes Valley (now Brass Tacks) have closed in recent years and seen similar fates as what seems to be befalling the old Gangway.
I'm sorry everyone. It may be Sober January but this just might drive me to drink, slumped over the bar as one should be at this place, regaling anyone who'll listen with a story about going home with Peter Berlin in 1978 and spilling all the poppers on his jeans.
Update: Hoodline spoke with the current owner, Jung Lee, whose deceased wife was the longtime manager of the bar, who says his decision to sell was partly motivated by a disgruntled employee who sued him for back wages after a misunderstanding about the minimum wage. The sale is not final, and we still don't know what the potential new owners have planned, but it seems all but guaranteed to become a not-gay bar, mostly likely one with craft cocktails.
Gangway - 841 Larkin Street at Geary