As you might have heard, the eviction of The Eagle Tavern has been quite the controversy to both the LGBT community and lovers of good bars in general. To some, the closure was yet another tragedy in the assault on gay culture in the ever-gentrifying SoMa neighborhood; to others, another casualty in the erosion of San Francisco's character.
But plans by area queer businesspersons to pay the $15,000/month rent and re-open the Eagle offered up an encouraging glimmer of hope—until an owner of Foreign Cinema came in to open a “high-end restaurant” in the space. Feeling burned by the landlord and Foreign Cinema for playing the role of quasi-homewrecker, activist-types picketed the restaurant on Sunday chanting “our space, queer space” and something about how good their bloody marys are.
Here's what the protest organizers had to say about the situation:
A valiant team of queer business owners have been trying hard to reopen the Eagle over the last year. After many months of hard work, they got the landlord to agree to a contract, signed it and sent it to him to sign. They didn't hear back from him for weeks.
The landlord deliberately dropped the potential gay business owners in order to pursue business with five straight guys. This is the third or fourth time that the landlord has purposefully dicked around with gay business owners. Could this be a pattern of homophobia?These five straight dudes want to open up a high-end restaurant where our beloved Eagle used to be. One of them is a part owner of “Foreign Cinema” the $20+ per plate restaurant that lies at the heart of gentrified mission. These straight guys insist that they can support our gay community just as well as any gay owner. That's bullshit.
Now, the landlord who has refused to let a gay business owner come back to the Eagle is trying to slam through a liquor license transfer to the space. They're hired well connected consultants to get it through lightning fast - the City Operations Committee that first supported it spent a whopping 7 minutes for the entire meeting.
The “homophobia” bit sounds like the stretch, but it sounds like they have a point on the landlord being a bit of a
greedy shithead wise entrepreneur. Regardless, does it really make sense to drag Foreign Cinema into the mix? Can you really blame 'em for taking advantage of an opportunity to serve yummy $6.75 pop-tarts to more people?