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The Enemy of Fun

Dust-up South of Market: the venerable and quirky gay bar, the Hole In the Wall Saloon is trying to move from their currently leased, vintage and barely code-compliant location to new quarters at Folsom between 9th and 10th.. The owners, John and Joe, also own the even more venerable Eagle Tavern on Harrison and 12th. These are the last vestiges of the edgy, hard-living gay scene that existed South of Market before HIV and the even more fatal "loft" condos that transformed SoMa in the past decade. Nobody seems to remember those were supposedly artist live-work housing and that the light industrial neighborhood was rezoned to accommodate them. Try finding an artist in one now. And while the Hole may be on every gay tourist's list, it has remained resolutely a neighborhood bar.

But in the classic San Francisco tradition, there's one person standing in the way of The Hole's reincarnation, and he put himself there. Jim Meko, a neighborhood resident and member of the City's Entertainment Commission, is fighting the relocation (just two blocks) on the basis that it's moving to the wrong neighborhood, and across the street from subsidized housing for the homeless and a drug rehab center. In classic NIMBY tradition, this time with a social engineering twist, the neighborhood the bar already exists in is not the right neighborhood for the bar to be in at all. Except that it's a neighborhood full of bars and clubs; maybe Mr. Meko hasn't noticed.

On the agenda at the Planning Commission meeting, May 10, beginning at 1:30 pm in Room 400 at City Hall.
· Are we losing the Eagle and the Hole in the Wall? [SF Bay Times]