San Francisco supervisors have granted city landmark status to the San Francisco Eagle, a leather bar founded in 1981. The gay bar becomes the first leather community site to be named a historical landmark in the city.
The local queer community has been advocating for years to save LGBTQ+ sites before they are shuttered and their historical value lost.
This is the second leather bar in the U.S. of the same name to become a local landmark, following 2020's designation of Atlanta's leather bar as a historical landmark. Although Atlanta's Eagle received landmark status first, it was founded six years after the San Francisco location.
The unanimous vote by the San Francisco supervisors had been expected after the city leaders provided preliminary approval for the declaration two weeks prior.
The South of Market location is within the city's Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District, but, according to the Bay Area Reporter, it's the first LGBTQ landmark designated within the district.
A recently developed Eagle Plaza now fronts the bar and honors the city's leather, kink, and LGBTQ communities. The bar's gay owners supported the designation, which San Francisco city Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the area, set in motion last year not long after the lot where the bar is located was put up for sale. The property has reportedly yet to sell.
"The SF Eagle is one of the few remaining Leather bars in this area and holds great significance for the LGBT community, LGBT history, and, indeed, the history of San Francisco," Haney said when he petitioned the other supervisors to support the landmark ordinance. "The city needs to do more to acknowledge the critical role that places like the Eagle continue to play in making San Francisco such a special place, and I am proud to put forward one of SOMA’s most beloved Legacy Businesses and gay bars for this important distinction,”
According to San Francisco Planning, "The intent of Landmark designation is to protect, preserve, enhance and encourage continued utilization, rehabilitation and, where necessary, adaptive use of significant cultural resources."
The designation should help the Eagle stay in business regardless of who buys the lot it is located on.