What’s believed to be San Francisco’s oldest operating gay bar could soon be closing its doors.
Tablehopper reports that Gangway, at 841 Larkin Street, which has been operating as a gay bar since 1961, is in the process of being sold to a company which will relaunch it under a new name.
The venue has been for sale for the past six months, and but a pending liquor license transfer dated 6 January indicates that ownership is in the process of being transferred to a company called Breaking Chad, Inc. It indicates the venue will be relaunched under the new name of ‘Daddy’s Bones’.
Gangway has been owned for the last 18 years by Jung Lee, who confirmed to Hoodline that he was in the process of selling the bar, one year earlier than he originally planned.
Lee, a trucker for 35 years, took over the running of Gangway following the death of his wife from cancer five years ago. Up until then, she had run the venue.
Lee planned to sell it after his daughter graduated college in a year’s time. However, he’s selling early after a former employee successfully sued him for not paying him the minimum wage.
Lee told Hoodline that he had incorrectly thought that because bartenders make tips, he didn’t have to pay minimum wage. He lost the case and had to pay the bartender $7,400 in back wages and city fees for investigation.
He then had to pay further back wages when investigators found that he had incorrectly paid other staff.
Lee says all the pay errors were unintentional and that he would have been happy to have resolved the issues if the bartender had come to him direct instead of taking the case to court: ‘I’m not a cheap man,’ he insisted.
However, the whole case had hit him financially and left a sour taste – so he has decided to sell up and retire.
He says he recruited a brokerage firm to sell the venue and has little knowledge of the potential buyers. He also says that his advice to them would be to keep things running exactly as they are.
‘I told them not to change anything, keep it as is. The bartenders are very experienced, the prices are $0.50 to $1 or $2 cheaper then any other bar, and they make strong, good cocktails.’
He also said that he would miss the bar and its clientele: ‘I love all my customers. Respect them, take care of them and the neighbors.’
Gay Star Business is attempting to make contact with Breaking Chad to find out its intentions for the venue.