Hello Again: The Eagle Tavern’s Return
After nearly two years, legal real estate wranglings, liquor license hassles and lots of renovations, the rumors became true, and the historic San Francisco favorite, The Eagle Tavern, finally re-opened on March 2, 2013.
The Eagle shut down in April 2011 after a rent dispute between the former owners and the landlord. In September 2012, the new Eagle owners Alex Montiel and Mike Leon paid $250,000 for the 10-year lease, with an option of going for another 10 years. So, hopefully the threat of a high-rise condo or conversion of the venue into yet another straight hipster bar may never come to true.
With the well-timed Mr. San Francisco Leather events holding parties, and the extra leathermen and women in San Francisco for the festivities, the opening weekend was a hit. Saturday’s crowd took in the redesigns, and opinions were overwhelmingly popular.
Bartender Gary has worked at the old Eagle for 30 years. Since many patrons were awaiting drinks, his summation was succinct: "I like it."
One of the delays that the new owners faced were needed roof repairs. The rebuilt roof, whose inside is painted black like most of the walls, recalls the barn-like awning of the venue’s historic past as a carriage house.
The once-central U-shaped bar has been removed and replaced by a long strip on the east end of the front room. The front doorway no longer has the foyer and shelf, nor the leather tarp. It’s simply a streamlined door and open entryway.
Among the other updates are a wheelchair-accessible bathroom, placed where the former small shop used to be. The other outside urinal trough and inside toilet (up three steps) are not accessible, but retain their ... ahem, cruisy ambiance.
Stripped of their many wall adornments, the space has a more serious air to it, but offers more open space.
Outside, the patio remains nearly the same. The tree near the indoor/outdoor bar was dying, so it was cut down, and the circular wooden bench removed. However, the ivy growing along the west wall, and a large tree, remain.