The Gangway opened in 1910 and became a gay bar in 1961. It’s hailed as San Francisco’s oldest gay bar — but perhaps not for much longer.
According to a pending liquor license, Sam Young, owner of the sometimes controversial Kozy Kar bar, is in the process of buying the Gangway. And if the license is anything to go by, the iconic gay space will not remain as such going forward.
The new location is set to do business as Young’s Kung Fu Action Theatre & Laundry.
While it may seem like a prank, Young assured SFist it’s not. ‘People will enjoy watching kung fu movies while they do their laundry,’ he reportedly explained, confirming it won’t be a bar. ‘I have decided to branch out and try other business ventures.’
A Gangway bartender confirmed the pending transaction to the SF Chronicle. It is unclear when the changes will begin, if at all.
What does the Gangway’s closure mean for San Fran’s LGBTI community?
This is not the first time the Gangway has faced the threat of closing down. Jung Lee, the owner of the bar for last 19 years, nearly sold it last year. That deal, however, fell through.
When Lee was in the process of selling before, he advised the potential new owners not to change anything. Now it’s looking like everything will change.
This could have a detrimental affect on the LGBTI community in the neighborhood. When LGBTI spaces are hard to come by at all, it doesn’t help when long-standing community spaces close. The Gangway is described as ‘a treasure’ and an important scene especially for the city’s older gay crowd.
People are already starting to vocalize their passion for the bar and their fear of losing it.
Please don't make The Gangway a laundromat. Please don't make The Gangway a laundromat. Please don't make The Gangway a laundromat. Please d
— Cory Chaki Sklar (@AskChaki) August 10, 2017