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After Eviction, Gold Dust Lounge Reopens At Fisherman's Wharf

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The mayor of San Francisco proclaimed Friday "Gold Dust Lounge Day" at the grand reopening of the eponymous bar in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf Friday afternoon.

The Gold Dust Lounge opened its doors around 4 p.m. at 165 Jefferson St. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Mayor Ed Lee, who was accompanied by supervisors David Chiu, London Breed, Scott Wiener and Jane Kim.

The city leaders presented a certificate to the owners, the Bovis family, along with state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who also recognized the establishment, predicting the newly-opened bar "is going to be a huge success."

Friday's reopening comes after the bar fought last year to keep its 247 Powell St. location open after the owners lost a lease on the building last April.

After cutting the grand reopening ribbon and checking out the new space, Lee said the bar is a great addition to the area.

"It's going to be a part of our great history," Lee said.

He called the revamped bar part of a resurgence of local businesses throughout the city that will bring loyal patrons to the area, along with tourists.

"It's going to be a blast," he said.

The bar now falls into Supervisor Chiu's district, something he savors.

"What this will create is a destination," he said.

Although the bar's original 1933 location was shut down, the future of the watering hole was spared with its relocation to the new 2,700-square-foot space that has recreated the well-known Powell Street bar.

The bar bears a resemblance to its original with the same plush red velvet seats, bulb-studded marquee and cherub wall mural decorating the establishment that now sits next to the "Ripley's Believe It or Not" tourist attraction.

The reopening kicked off when a horse-drawn covered wagon approached the main thoroughfare of Fisherman's Wharf carrying San Francisco local actor Stuart Whitman, who celebrated his 85th birthday Friday.

"What a day!" said the actor, known for his role in the 1960s Western television series, "Cimarron Strip."

Also aboard the wagon were police and fire chiefs Greg Suhr and Joanne Hayes-White.

Hayes-White, a native of San Francisco, said she was delighted the well-known bar could relocate.

Keeping with Gold Dust tradition, the bar's band, Johnny and the Camaros, jammed in the back section of the bar, while a brass band entertained passersby at the front entrance.

Longtime Gold Dust Lounge patrons San Francisco resident Lani Russell, 50, and Belmont resident Steve Coleman attended the opening celebration while sporting their "Save the Gold Dust Lounge" T-shirts.

Russell said she was at the bar the night it closed and was ecstatic that the new space had finally opened.

"It was a great unique place," she said, recalling the old spot.

Coleman, who was part of the movement to save the former location, said the opening "is just absolutely amazing." He said he is delighted by the likeness to the former bar.

"I'm so happy to see the same ceiling," he said.

He said the closure "is Union Square's loss" and that loyal patrons are ready to head to Fisherman's Wharf for a drink.

On Saturday, patrons can stop by after 7 p.m. after an afternoon private opening weekend celebration.

A full house is expected Sunday to cheer on the 49ers at a Super Bowl viewing party at the new location that has three TVs.

On Sunday doors open at 8 a.m.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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