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In San Francisco, Eagle Tavern's fate splits gay community

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Franciscans love their watering holes and their political controversies, and when the two mix like gin and tonic, all the better.

Witness the brew-hahas that erupted when the Gold Dust Lounge at Union Square got the boot from its landlord, and when the Tonga Room atop Nob Hill was threatened in a proposed remake of the Fairmont Hotel.

When the Board of Supervisors returns from its recess next month, it'll take up the latest example: whether it's really last call for the Eagle Tavern, a onetime beacon for the gay community where ashes of AIDS victims are scattered.

Already, the Eagle's fate is dividing supervisors, members of the Entertainment Commission and the gay community itself.

The bar opened about 30 years ago at 12th and Harrison streets in the South of Market as a destination for gay men in the leather community - but it shut in April 2011 after the bar's managers got into a financial disagreement with the landlord.

Foodie blogs are abuzz with news that an investment team has signed an agreement with the landlord to open some kind of upscale dining and drinking establishment, though Inside Scoop, SFGate's food blog, reported last week the deal is up in the air now in part because of all the controversy.

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