Twin Peaks Tavern considered a gay icon

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerNothing to hide: Twin Peaks Tavern

The Twin Peaks Tavern — the first gay bar known to have its activities in clear public view at bustling 17th and Castro streets — could be on its way to becoming a San Francisco landmark.

At its Wednesday meeting, The City’s Historic Preservation Commission discussed beginning the complicated process of declaring landmark status for the picture-windowed Castro neighborhood watering hole. Supervisor Scott Wiener, the neighborhood’s openly gay representative, said the bar’s historical significance should not be understated.

“It represents our community’s transition from being underground to being open for all the world to see,” Wiener said. “A lot of bars, not just in San Francisco but elsewhere, it was just a nondescript door and you would go in the back and downstairs … people were fearful of police raids.”

Still, Wiener said his support for landmark status will depend on how building owners feel about the designation, which would make changing anything about the property a more difficult process. Wiener, who has been critical about aspects of San Francisco’s historic preservation policies in the past, noted that the Board of Supervisors would have final say on making Twin Peaks a landmark.

“It’s still unclear whether the owners of the building support the landmarking,” Wiener said. “It creates very significant additional expenses and processes to make changes.”

A representative of the bar – a separate entity from the building ownership — declined to comment as of press time Thursday.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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