Recent efforts to save The Eagle Tavern, a much-loved gathering place of San Francisco’s leather community, have fallen short. The South of Market bar ended a 30-year run on Saturday.

For those who didn’t regularly frequent The Eagle, it might be hard to understand what it meant to those who did. KQED newscaster Joshua Johnson captured some of that emotional attachment in this April 12 post about a gathering at the bar to rally support. San Francisco supervisor Scott Wiener was there and described the significance of the establishment in the following video. “For the LGBT community, our bars and our clubs are our gathering places,” Wiener says. “For a lot of gay people, when you come out, your family are sometimes the people that you’re meeting in these bars.”

Joshua Johnson’s post also drew a number of comments from Eagle fans, including the following:

As i have seen many of the local people support such a great place; but for many more of us who do not have that community in our local areas we travel to places like THE EAGLE. We seek to learn and be a part of something that is so wonderful that it allows us to feel okay and safe to be who we are. The Eagle and the people of The Eagle share build and grow the tradition and the lives of so many. Please keep the fight strong for a place that has been so good to so many. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— The Eagle is my home away from home. i have been to hundreds of benefits there where money was raised for Lyon Martin Clinic or toys collected for the SF Firefighters Toy Drive. On Thanksgiving there is turkey and dressing for all of the folks who would perhaps have to go to a shelter or do without on that day. We have to fight back and SAVE THE EAGLE.

On April 13, SF Weekly posted this letter from an Eagle patron speaking to his love for the place:

My first reaction and strongest thought was that the Eagle Tavern is more than just a bar; it is a living community. The Eagle Tavern maintains its neighborhood gathering place status, and it is also a destination place where people from all over the Bay Area come to enjoy live music, charity events, or simply to hang out with SF locals. Also, the Eagle serves as an anchor business for SOMA street fairs, LGBT Pride, and other events. The Eagle Tavern has national and international status and reputation by which other “Eagle” bars and nightclubs are judged…

I’ve seen and experienced how the Eagle Tavern’s distinctive environment has forged and propagated extended families, relationships, and friendships. Isn’t this what San Francisco is all about? This is why the Eagle has been an enduring historical place that still remains to be so San Francisco.

More comments on the Save the Eagle Facebook page and on the Joe. My. God. blog.

Author

Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor