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Tenderloin Gay Bar Deco Lounge Closes

by Seth Hemmelgarn
Tuesday Nov 13, 2012
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A gay bar in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district has closed, making it the fifth LGBT watering hole to close in recent years.

Deco Lounge, 510 Larkin Street, has been sold, and the bar’s last night was Monday, November 5. It’s not clear what the new owners’ plans for the spot are.

Paul Xavier, 54, a gay man who’s owned the bar for six years, said in a September interview that he was selling the liquor license, furniture, and other assets because "a bar is a lot of work."

Deco has "always had its popularity," Xavier, who’s retiring, said. However, a small business "needs an owner who is more hands-on, and I just don’t have the time or energy to do that," he said. In an interview this week, Xavier said he sold the bar for $200,000.

Records from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control show Cameron Andrew Maddern as the managing member of BB Empire, LLC, which has filed a liquor license transfer application. Maddern couldn’t be reached for comment.

Xavier, who worked through a broker to sell the bar, said he’s spoken to one of the new owners. The man’s first name is Cameron, but he didn’t know the man’s last name, he said. He believes that there are other partners involved, as well, but he doesn’t know much about what the new owners plan to do with the space.

David Delgado, 41, who’s been assistant manager at Deco, said in September that the buyers "have expressed some interest in [keeping] nights that are doing well," including the Friday drag shows and Go Bang parties on Saturdays.

"They are going to close for a while and do some construction," he said. "Who knows what they’re going to do when they reopen?" Remodeling work would probably include the bathrooms.

"Deco was such a fun place," Delgado said. "It wasn’t the Castro. It wasn’t South of Market. It was just its own neighborhood bar."

The business is a block away from Polk Street, which once played a more prominent role in the city’s gay culture, before the Castro district became better known.

"I’ve been around for so long I remember when Polk Street was the mecca of gayness in the world," Xavier said. "Back then, we had the gay parade down Polk Street, and pretty much straight from maybe Washington down to Post there would be gay bars on every block."

Xavier has a business partner, but he declined to share information about him.

The closure of Deco follows last year’s closing of the Eagle Tavern in the SOMA district. The new owners of that establishment haven’t yet announced an opening date. Other bars that have shuttered include Trigger, Lime, and Club Eight.

Copyright Bay Area Reporter. For more articles from San Francisco's largest GLBT newspaper, visit www.ebar.com

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