A curious twist in the newly unfolding saga of the future of Lucky 13, as two murals in the bar’s private parking lot were abruptly painted over Tuesday night without notice and under the cover of darkness. You’ll of course recall Tuesday’s news that a demolition notice was posted on the Lucky 13 building, signifying that a more than decade-long attempt to replace the bar with condos might be finally coming to pass. But the diplomatic back-and-forth between Lucky 13 owner Brian Spiers and the condos’ developer Ankrom Moison Architects might be getting a little less diplomatic, as Hoodline reports that Spiers was taken by surprise at the murals’ sudden removal.
The painting-over of the two murals in Lucky 13’s parking lot is clearly not the work of taggers, vandals, or deplorable teens. As seen in a photo by Hoodline’s Alisa Scerrato, this is a professional paint-over job intended specifically to just cover the murals with a fug hue of primer brown. SFist has reached out to Lucky 13 for comment, and we’ll update this article with any clarifying remarks.
But Lucky 13 manager Martin Kraenkel told Hoodline that within the last week the bar had received a city notice about graffiti in the parking lot. The bar done its due diligence to show the murals were not graffiti, and should not be removed. "I don't know why anyone would do that," Kraenkel said of the murals’ removal to Hoodline. "Those were so nice."
The two paintings in question are both relatively recent additions, and part of the Trick Dog Mural Project that commissioned 14 artists to paint various murals citywide in correlation with a batch of new cocktails on Trick Dog Bar drink menu. One was a Bigfoot mural completed in December of last year, the other a Trick Dog homage mural by Sam Flores and Ronnie Buders completed in January of this year. All of 14 these murals were city-sanctioned, making it less likely that the city of San Francisco is behind the murals’ removal.
“I don't know why someone would do that,” Buders told Hoodline when reached for comment. “It wasn't like it was graffiti or anything. It was commissioned art.”
Given the recent notice for the building’s demolition, it might be fair to speculate whether the demolition notice and the removal of the murals are a correlated attempt to un-Lucky 13ify the 2140 Market Street location as quickly as possible. After all, discretionary reviews and landmark status claims could complicate Ankrom Moison Architects’ attempts to demolish the bar. Lucky 13 does have a previous history as a gay bar called Alfie’s that was frequented by Harvey Milk, and that’s history that some San Franciscans don’t want to see painted over.