A crowdfunding campaign that set out to raise $100,000 last week to save Aunt Charlie's Lounge succeeded in reaching its goal within just a week, and on Monday there was a socially distant drag show on the sidewalk outside to celebrate.
"I am simply blown away!" says one of the fundraising organizers, Darwin Bell, writing on Facebook. "We knew there was love for everyone’s favorite dive/drag bar, but this outpouring of love was overwhelming!!! I love what we can do as a community!"
The fundraising goal was reached on Monday morning, after just seven days — and much like beloved North Beach bookstore City Lights and its across-the-street neighbor Spec's have done in recent months, Aunt Charlie's rallied its fans and managed to dig the business owner out of a hole that would have led to a permanent closure. (Though Spec's is still about $26,000 shy of its fundraising goal.)
The goal was met hours ahead of a planned online drag fundraiser, which went ahead as planned on Monday afternoon — with three queens, Olivia Hart, Kelly Rose, and Christina Ashton all performing outside the bar.
Great work everyone! The Tenderloin's last remaining queer bar is saved, and it likely won't be the last bar in need of saving when all this shakes out.
As of now, bars are going to get the go-ahead from the city to reopen in mid-August, however bar owners are petitioning to get that moved up by a month.