Iconic LGBTQ bar faces eviction due to beef with landlord
The embattled Port Bar on Broadway isn’t out of the woods yet. Just weeks after being hit by vandals, the iconic San Francisco venue may face a forced closure at the hands of its landlord, Phil Leong.
The issue? Overcrowding and safety concerns, according to Leong. He’s invoking a clause in the lease allowing him to terminate the agreement as early as the end of 2024, two years before the scheduled expiry in 2027. This comes as a shock to Port Bar owners Sean Sullivan and Richard Fuentes, who vehemently deny the safety accusations and want to see their lease honored.
The disputed clause hinges on the nature of the business. Leong argues that Port Bar’s karaoke nights, trivia events, and DJ parties exceed the ‘bar serving wine, beer, and spirits’ scope outlined in the lease. Sullivan and Fuentes counter that such activities are standard fare for any vibrant bar, and point to the adjacent construction on Leong’s property – a space rumored to be earmarked for another karaoke bar.
Adding fuel to the fire is the testimony of construction workers on Leong’s property. They’ve reportedly told passersby that the new space will indeed be a karaoke bar, raising questions about Leong’s motives behind seeking Port Bar’s early departure.
The situation unfolds amidst the Port Bar’s ongoing struggles. The recent vandalism incident caused significant damage and financial strain. Now, facing potential eviction, the future of this beloved San Francisco venue hangs in the balance.