San Francisco's Eagle bar, one of the last remaining leather bars in the newly christened Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District in SoMa, is likely to become the third queer bar site in the city to be granted city landmark status.
The Board of Supervisors' Land Use and Transportation Committee voted unanimously, 3-0, on Monday to advance the Eagle's landmark status recommendation on to the full board for a vote. And there is likely to be little to no opposition there.
As the Bay Area Reporter reports, the Land Use committee meeting featured a presentation by Honey Mahogany on behalf of the landmarking effort — and Mahogany serves as legislative aide to Supervisor Matt Haney, who initiated the landmarking process after the Eagle property went up for sale in 2020.
The owner of the business, Lex Montiel, is fully in support of getting landmark status and also spoke at the meeting.
"The San Francisco Eagle has been an institution for many, many years," Montiel said, per the BAR, and he added that the bar's mission had always been to be "open to every color and flavor of our community."
Montiel and his late business partner Mike Leon bought the bar during a previous time in which it seemed threatened. After the bar closed in 2011 amid an eviction crisis, the community rallied to try to save it, and both former supervisors Scott Wiener and Jane Kim took credit for helping steer the property into a new lease to queer operators in 2012. The bar then reopened in 2013, and closed during the pandemic, until it finally reopened in late June.
The Eagle, which opened in 1981, cleared its first hurdle toward landmark status back in January, when the Land Use committee forwarded the petition on to the Historic Preservation Commission. Both the commission and the Planning department have since given their support.
The other two LGBTQ bar sites that have landmark status are Twin Peaks Tavern in the Castro — notable for being the first queer bar in the city to have big, unblocked windows to the street — and the site of the former Paper Doll restaurant and bar at 524 Union Street in North Beach, which had been popular with lesbians and gay men since the mid-1940s, and bears the distinction of being the country's first lesbian and gay "supper club." (The space has been several different restaurants in recent years.)
Photo: Riley Norris/Facebook