The legal battle over who owns Lefty O'Doul's basically the business and its brand, as opposed to the premises in which it has resided for nearly 60 years at 333 Geary, which is the property of the Handlery family continues on, however the lease of the current proprietor Nick Bovis and his family ends effective February 3. Tomorrow night, February 1, they'll be having a party to say goodbye to the space, complete with brass band on the sidewalk. Bovis maintains that he trademarked the Lefty O'Doul's name in the last decade, and he's run the business since 1997, and along with supporters like O'Doul's own cousin and former mayor Willie Brown, Bovis has had several press conferences to make his case for claiming ownership of the business and its contents in the last couple of weeks.
The Handlerys last week won a temporary restraining order against Bovis, and they claim that he illegally removed memorabilia from the bar, and meanwhile Bovis's attorney has filed suit in federal court over the trademark issue, saying the Handlerys have no right to the Lefty's name though the Handlerys maintain that Bovis was just one in a succession of operators of the bar who leased it from them since the death of O'Doul himself in the 1960s, who was himself a lessee.
The bar/hofbrau was originally located on Powell Street and relocated to the Geary address in 1958, where it's served locals and tourists alike ever since. The walls have long been adorned with baseball and Marilyn Monroe-themed memorabilia, and certainly if Bovis added to that collection since he took over the property it was reportedly in much poorer shape 20 years ago then the argument over the collection could get complicated. As of now, Handlery spokesman Sam Singer says, "There’s no question that the memorabilia inside Lefty O’Doul’s belongs to the Handlery family and will be returned,” and he adds, "The restaurant will close after Bovis and company depart and will reopen at some point after we do an assessment of what needs to be updated and fixed.”
Bovis says he intends to relocate Lefty's nearby, much the way he did earlier with the Gold Dust Lounge (with debatable success), following a similar battle with this same landlord back in 2012.
Bay City News notes that Lefty's is the city's second-oldest baseball-themed bar without saying what the oldest is... what is it? Double Play Bar & Grill? and brings us the schedule of events for Wednesday's goodbye shindig. The Irish Newsboys, a singing group composed partly of Chronicle writers, will perform from 7 to 9 p.m., and famed house piano player Frank O’Connor will tickle the ivories throughout the evening, with a brass band playing outside from 5 to 7 p.m.