San Francisco’s Eagle Tavern closes

Two weeks ago, we told you first that Dallas Eagle co-owner Mark Frazier was in negotiations to become co-owner of the landmark San Francisco leather bar Eagle Tavern, and last week we

Mark Frazier

reported that Frazier had dropped his bid to buy the bar because of the landlord’s plan to drastically increase the rent on the property.

Now comes word, via the San Francisco Examiner, that after 30 years, the bar has closed its doors, as of last Saturday night, April 30.

The Examiner reports that bar manager Ron Hennis has “expressed interest in ownership but declined requests for an interview and said in a Facebook message that he won’t discuss ongoing negotiations.”

Read the Examiner’s full report here.

—  admin

Dallas Eagle’s Frazier says he can’t save the San Francisco Eagle if landlord doesn’t want him to

Mark Frazier

Mark Frazier, co-owner of the Dallas Eagle, reportedly has dropped his bid to purchase the San Francisco Eagle Tavern, according to the Bay Area Reporter. Matthew Bajko reports:

Mark Frazier, who owns the Dallas Eagle, had been working with Eagle manager Ron Hennis for days to try to buy the bar. But Frazier announced this week that he’s dropping out.

He expressed frustration in trying to deal with the bar’s landlord, John Nikitopoulos, who he said wants to raise the rent, among other issues. He also said Nikitopoulos hasn’t returned his calls. …

Community members have been working to keep the bar LGBT-oriented throughout the month, after it looked like it might be sold to the owner of a different bar, raising fears the business could go straight. That deal didn’t happen. There had been some hope, including on a Facebook page devoted to the bar, that Frazier entering the picture would help.

But Frazier said this week that Nikitopoulos had been “uncompromising.”

“There’s only so much that a business can do to break even,” he said. Frazier said the Eagle’s lost money in the last couple years. He said the bar could turn around, “but a business can only turn around if you have control over your expenditures.” He said that with Nikitopoulos “jumping up the rent to the point where it’s not feasible, that hinders your bottom line.”

—  John Wright

Mark Frazier confirms he may buy San Francisco Eagle but says he won’t leave Dallas completely

Mark Frazier

On Wednesday we reported that Dallas Eagle co-owner Mark Frazier is in negotiations to buy the San Francisco Eagle Tavern, including that Frazier had told the San Franscio LGBT newspaper, Bay Area Reporter, that if the sale goes through, he will move to San Francisco. We also noted that we had not yet confirmed the report with Frazier himself.

On Wednesday night, we received an email from Frazier who said that yes, “there is some truth” in the B.A.R. report, but that “nothing is final, and I haven’t left Dallas.”

He said there are still “lots of details to work out” before the sale goes through, and he promised that even if the deal does go through, he won’t leave Dallas completely.

“Should this [deal] come to fruition, I would split my time between Dallas and SF,” Frazier said. “Dallas is my home and I will remain an owner in the Dallas Eagle. I love the community here and hope to be part of it for years to come.”

Frazier also said he believes that his experience here with Dallas Eagle puts him in prime shape to turn things around at the SF Eagle, a longtime gathering place for that city’s leather community that had been in danger of closing.

“There are many challenges and hurdles that face the SF Eagle, including refocusing on becoming the community bar it once was,” Frazier wrote. “Many bars and business are closing nationally. I see the problem as two-fold: 1. The owners have lost their passion and their connection with the community; and 2. The community has chosen not to support businesses and have chosen other venues.

“I feel that I am qualified to help the bar reach its potential,” Fraizer said.

—  admin

Dallas Eagle co-owner Mark Frazier said to be in negotiations to buy San Francisco Eagle Tavern

Mark Frazier

Mark Frazier, co-owner of Dallas Eagle, and Ron Hennis, manager of the San Francisco Eagle Tavern, are in negotiations for Frazier to purchase the San Francisco bar from owner John Gardiner, according to the San Francisco LGBT newspaper, Bay Area Reporter.

Dallas Voice hasn’t spoken with Frazier to confirm the report, but the newspaper has an extensive story that includes numerous quotes from Frazier, including one in which Frazier indicates that if the sale goes through, he’ll move to San Francisco. “It’s been a dream of mine for a very long time,” Frazier said.

According to the newspaper, Gardiner decided not to sell to the owner of another bar there, a possibility which had upset some in the LGBT community since it might have meant the Eagle would no longer be a gay bar. Frazier told the newspaper that the only thing holding up the deal right now is that neither Frazier nor Hennis has been able to get in contact with the owner of the property where the SF Eagle is located, John Nikitopoulos.

Mark Frazier has long been a huge asset to Dallas’ LGBT community, and we would hate to lose him to San Francisco. But we certainly don’t want to stand in the way of his dream, either! Here’s wishing you all the best, Mark!

—  admin

Bellying up to the bar: Leatherman Payne and partner dive into club ownership with Eagle

MEN OF DENIM | Ostmeyer, Payne, Johnson, Frazier and Roy now all own the Dallas Eagle.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Until about a month ago, everything Jeffrey Payne knew about a bar was how to order a Sprite in one (Payne doesn’t drink). Maybe how to cruise a guy during happy hour. That was it.

That’s changing. Fast.

At the end of January, Payne and his partner David Roy became shareholders in the Dallas Eagle.

“David and I have been speaking about it for a few years. We toyed with starting our own bar, had looked at other bars that had come up for sale in the meantime but never found what we were looking for,” Payne says.

Then last year Mark Frazier, one of the owners of the Eagle, approached them. “He heard we were looking,” Payne says, and asked if they would be interested in investing. Things progressed fairly quickly from there.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” Payne says. ”Working with Mark and Cully Johnson and Jerry Ostmeyer, who are the other owners, we all bring something different to the table. We’re all active. There’s no silent partner, no one standing on the sidelines. Lot of changes have either happened or are about to happen. The DJ booth is now against the side; new countertops are being put in; and we have an updated draft [beer] system.”

Payne’s history with the Eagle is notable. He was named Mr. Dallas Eagle in 2008 — the first step on his way to Mr. Texas Leather and finally International Mr. Leather, a title he held from May 2009 to 2010 and for which he received widespread acclaim throughout the community for his leadership.

“Having been around the world like I have been, getting to know the hugely supportive gay community — not just the leather community — I wanted to be more involved,” he says. “The Eagle was just the right thing we were looking for. It’s a Levi/leather bar, but it doesn’t stop there: The bears, the court, the drag queens, softball teams, the bowling league — it’s not limited to just one sector of the community. It’s a wide array of people. Even straight people who are involved in the gay community hold activities there.”

“Bar owner” joins Payne’s other job titles of late, which also include running a court reporting service and serving on his non-profit Sharon St. Cyr Foundation, which raises money for hearing aids and sign interpretation for the deaf community. Payne is going deaf, although it has not progressed as fast as his doctors had predicted.

“It has gradually gotten worse but I’ll hang on to every day I can,” he says. ”Understanding is escaping more and more. David said something to me this morning and what I heard and what he said were on two different planes. Mine was much funnier.”

His hearing impairment also figures into his work at the Eagle — in some not-to-predictable ways.

“Sunday was the first time I worked behind the bar,” he says. “When I’m at the Eagle I don’t wear my hearing aids so people were placing orders and I didn’t hear them.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

Parade proceeds donation

FOR THE YOUTH  | Officials with Dallas Tavern Guild presents Youth First Texas Development Director Sam Wilkes and Board Chair T.J. Wilson a check for $7,500 representing proceeds from the 2010 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade during a recent DTG meeting. Pictured are, front from left, Culley Johnson, Dallas Eagle; Howard Okun, The Brick; Allen Pierce, The Round-Up Saloon; G. Maywald, BJ’s; Wilkes and Wilson, Youth First Texas; Andy Krumm, BJ’s; Jack Adams, Club Wet; Jesse Avalos, BJ’s and Keith Lackie, Klub Wet; back, from left, Matt Louzau, Barbara’s Pavillion; Dan Faust, Kaliente; Mark Frazier, Dallas Eagle; Greg Kilhoffer, Caven Enterprises; Frank Holland, Pekrs; Gary Miller, Round-Up Saloon; Chris Weinfurter, Woody’s.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens