SF Eagle building listed for sale, prompting fears about future

SF Eagle building listed for sale, prompting fears about future
Photo: Anonymous/Hoodline Tipline
By Camden Avery - Published on September 24, 2020.

A "for sale" sign went up on the face of the SF Eagle earlier today, prompting fears about the future of the bar, which has been a fixture of San Francisco's gay and leather scenes for nearly four decades.

It's still unclear exactly what the listing means for the bar. A listing agent from Compass Real Estate wouldn't directly comment on whether the business itself, or just its building, is for sale, but hinted that it's likely the latter.

"We are trying to work out with the bar tenant to see if they're interested in possibly purchasing the building," they said. 

The building isn't listed for sale online yet; the agent said it's still too early in the process.

Representatives from the Eagle haven't responded to a request for comment at the time of this posting. Cal Callahan, the manager for SoMa's Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District, said the district hadn't heard anything beyond the news of the sign being posted.

This isn't the first time the Eagle has been in jeopardy. In 2011, the bar closed to become an upscale restaurant. After queer organizers rallied around it, it was purchased by a different set of owners, who promised to keep it as a gay bar. It reopened in 2013.

A similar situation befell the Stud, another staple of SoMa's queer nightlife scene. After its building was sold in 2016, a new landlord tripled the rent, causing the bar's owner to pull out. The business was purchased by a collective of artists, performers, business executives and political strategists, which secured its lease through the end of 2020.

But after the pandemic forced bars to close, the Stud shut down in May, citing a loss of income. The collective is now searching for a new space to revive the bar

The Eagle is part of an international family of leather fetish-themed bars, and has long been a haven for the kink scene. A low-key hangout and cruising spot, it's known for its array of theme parties, dance nights and film screenings, and its generous back patio.

The Eagle is also the namesake of the new Eagle Plaza, a redesign of the adjacent intersection at Harrison and 12th streets that aims to celebrate SoMa's kink and leather history. 

Just this week, the Leather Cultural District announced plans to install sidewalk plaques in front of historic buildings in the district, including the Eagle. Funded by impact fees on nearby commercial developments, the plaques are expected to go before the city's arts commission for approval in the coming months.