The LGBTQ community in San Francisco lost their oldest gay bar, the Gangway, which closed its doors this month, after being open for 58 years. The bar first opened in 1910 and then become a gay bar in 1960.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the bar faced the threat of closure two years ago after the bar’s owner Jung Lee said he was selling the bar as a result of a wage-related lawsuit where Lee was forced to pay an employee $7,400 in back wages, as well as other fees. The death of one of his longtime managers also contributed to the selling of the bar to a group called Breaking Chad LLC in January 2016, which planned to open a bar called “Daddy Bones.” However, that bar never saw the light a day, and the Gangway remained on life support for two years. Now it’s officially closed.
According to SF Chronicle, the nautical bar at 841 Larkin Street served as a reminder of the Tenderloin’s long gay history. All that history will be soon washed away as new owner Sam Young, plans to turn the space into Kung Fu Action Theater & Laundry, which will allow people to do their laundry and watch kung fu movies. Even though the location has a liquor license the new business will not be a bar.
Former Gangway employee Coy Meza posted on his Facebook page on January 29, at 10:56am, that LGBT leaders were partly to blame for the demise of the Gangway. “I would also say that our LGBT leaders helped in the tossing in the trash of this great museum of our past and ethnicity diverse community of equality,” his post read. “We will remember that the next time you want our votes… Just shaking my head and finger today as many parts of our history end up in the dumpsters in back allies again. Just not feeling your Pride San Francisco.”
Time will tell if the Gangway will become a Kung Fu Action Theatre & Laundry.
To read the full SF Chronicle article, click here