Tag Archives: Gentrification

Endangered Leather Species Alert: SF Eagle gone, NYC Eagle threatened…

Gay marriage passes in NYC. On the same night, the Eagle NYC is raided. Some insiders think this is the beginning of the end for the bar. Will this be the latest Leather institution lost to the forces of gentrification? Jeremiah from Vanishing New York seem to think so.  Unicorn Booty reports from Gotham. For the death throes of the SF Eagle, click here, here, and  here. For the graffiti that sprouted after the doors shut, here.

Stay Gay! SF’s Eagle Bar sprouts Critical Graffiti Wall – Big Slide Show

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It has been  a few weeks now since the SF Eagle closed its doors. No bikes out front, no men inside, chained shut, it sits empty. But not silent. Its walls speak. In several languages, actually. Graffiti farewells and protests decorate the outside of the once vibrant gathering place. What comes next, no one knows. For more on the demise of the beloved San Francisco Leather bar, click here, here, here, and here.

Over 30 Gay Leather Eagle Bars Worldwide! Will SF’s Eagle Tavern turn straight for a Skylark? #SaveTheSFEagle!

Get into a cab in any big city and say “The Eagle” and you are likely to end up in a gay Leather bar. Amsterdam, Atlanta, Barcelona, Baltimore, Boston, Charolotte, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Guerneville, Hartford, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Castle, New York City, Paris, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, San Juan, Seattle, Tampa, Toronto, Tulsa, Vienna, and Washington DC all have or have had, their own versions of unrelated bars called The Eagle.

For the past thirty years, San Francisco has had the Eagle Tavern. Now it is slated to close at the end of the month. Concerns that the site would be sold for ultimate development into condos and shops have dimmed under the glare of the immediate crisis. The Eagle may go straight.

Community member slave jody attended Monday’s “Save the Eagle” organizing meeting and broke it down: “It is about the owner of the Skylark bar on 16th buying the business and turning it into a straight bar. Two separate transactions are involved with the sale of a bar, the sale of the business and sale of the liquor license.”

Former District 8 Supervisor and out gay mayoral hopeful Bevan Dufty is involved with the ad hoc group that is organizing an eleventh hour bid to save the beloved dive. Dufty reports: “Kyle DeVries and Anna Conda did great work turning out hundreds at the Eagle tonight for a rally focusing on saving the bar and then marching to the Skylark (whose owner is believed to be trying to force a purchase and change it from the Eagle) — there will be a rally tomorrow (Tuesday) on City Hall steps @ 1p.m. and then public comment at the Board meeting — Supervisors Kim and Campos expressed strong support for saving the Eagle and Supervisor Wiener met the crowd at the Skylark.”

For more on this unfolding story, including a mock-up of a building proposed for the site earlier this year and a short historical analysis of gentrification South of Market, click here.

Leather for Condos: San Francisco’s Eagle Tavern forced to close its Doors by the end of the Month.

Neighborhoods change. Once a dozen Leather bars lined Folsom. And then there were none. The Eagle Tavern has been a longtime mainstay of San Francisco’s diverse Leather communities. A friendly, informal place with a large patio, the Eagle has also been unique in being able to support a generous mix of queer subcultures in relative harmony. Sunday afternoons would see Leathermen and drag queens, queer stoners, musicians, hipsters and quipsters all sharing the same sunny patio.

Building proposed for site of current SF Eagle

Now the owner of the building and the site won’t renew the lease. The new year brought rumors that it would be sold to developers, and this latest news supports that. Money talks. The Eagle is a one-story sprawling quirky thing under the freeway. The above rendition is the slick new multi-use building that is proposed for the site. Joe Jervis of the popular gay blog Joe. My. God. said: “I’ve had some fantastic times at the ramshackle, broke down, SF Eagle. Most of my favorite bars have been in that sort of condition.” But when money talks, neighborhoods clean up. Soon it will even be safe for the children. Isn’t that nice?

A community action planning meeting to brainstorm ways to save the Eagle is taking place TONIGHT, Monday, 2011, at The Eagle. The ad hoc committee is organizing on Facebook here. The Eagle is located at 398 12th Street at Harrison, by the freeway.

South of Market has been changing for a long time. For a historical perspective on the shifts, and the political attitudes that shape them them, Leather historian Gayle Rubin has considerable insight. This is from 1989:

“South of Market has been undergoing so much rapid change in recent years that many of its current habitues are unaware of or uneasy about its recent past. The newspapers endlessly repeat a mantra of how brave pioneers — usually restauranteurs catering to an “upscale” crowd — have wrested the area away from the “lowlife” elements that once made the area “undesirable.” This point of view rests on the assumption that it is “right” and “good” when “disreputable” populations such as gay people, the poor, or people of color are displaced by wealthier, whiter, straighter, more “respectable” folk.

Gay “leathermen” are one of the most visible and least understood of the ostensibly vanishing groups of SOMA aboriginals. Reading about the world of leather in the straight press is a bit like reading the reports about indigenous peoples written by dumbfounded missionaries in the heyday of colonialism.

When I see the disappearance of its gay population used an indicator of the South of Market “renaissance,” I am reminded of the ways white settlers in North America spoke of the Native Americans they displaced.”

Excerpted from “Requiem for the Valley of the Leather Kings,” originally published in Southern Oracle, 1989

Updates here.