Gold Dust Lounge Alive and Well

Note to visitors: we do not have regular covered wagon trips through the streets of our fair City. However, you could see some unusual vehicles when an iconic San Francisco landmark moves to a new location. Check out moving-in day:

There has been a bar on Powell Street, between Geary and O’Farrell, since 1933. The burlesque-themed bar called Bustles and Beaus was in financial trouble in 1964. The waitresses, who wore short skirts and slid down a fire pole every half hour, could not compete with Carol Doda, who was topless in North Beach. In 1966, Jim Bovis signed the lease for the space and opened the Gold Dust Lounge, to commemorate San Francisco’s role in the Gold Rush of 1849. The place definitely attracted our 1960s icons.

It might not surprise native San Franciscans that newspaper columnist Herb Caen had his designated bar stool. But you might be surprised that rock star Janis Joplin was a regular, that is after Jim Bovis was told who she was. When she first walked in, he refused to serve the “hippie.” She played the jukebox, and another customer wrote Jim a note on a cocktail napkin saying, “that is THE Janis Joplin.”

Jim asked if she was, “some kind’a musician?” Joplin answered, “Yes, I am. You have my records on your jukebox.” After that, when she was in the City, she would stop by to say hello and have a drink. Jim said, “she was a very lovely lady.”

Last December, after 46 years in the same location, Bovis and his brother Tasios (who joined him as a partner in 1970) were sent an eviction notice. Singer/songwriter Cat Hill composed an original theme song called, “Save the Gold Dust Lounge,” to gather support for the bar.

The song worked, with some help from former Mayor Willie Brown. The bar reopened on February 1, 2013 in the new location on Jefferson Street in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf. To join the fun, check out –

Best wishes,