While there's been a fair number of darkened storefronts in the 'hood over the past year, the bar scene in the Castro will be getting an injection of new life in the coming months. First off, the iconic, 42-year-old Midnight Sun is getting a major facelift, and will for the first time have an open view (instead of a solid wall) onto 18th Street. Second, two of the same partners who own Midnight Sun, Q Bar, and The Edge are taking the dormant Trigger space, and are giving it a major overhaul as a warm and cozy lounge and dance bar. It will be renamed Beaux, and should make its debut by late summer or early fall. Grub Street contacted partner Tim Eicher for some more details of what's to come.
Eicher says that one of the main goals for the very concrete-covered, L.A.-inspired former Trigger is to make it a warm, inviting, comfortable space that feels more appropriate for San Francisco. Also, they want it to be more flexible, he says, "so that it can feel warm and cool for 20 or 30 people on a Wednesday, but also open up into a dance bar on weekends." That will come with the aid of some kind of partition and reconfiguring of the space not the least of which will include a shrinking and relocation of the large, octagonal central bar. "The bar took up so much space," Eicher says, "And hopefully [designer Geremia Design] is going to come back with something that makes the bar a lot different, and probably smaller."
They will, however, be keeping the mezzanine overlooking what will continue to be the dancefloor.
As for the name, it of course means "boyfriends" or "beauties" (plural) in French, and the team says you can pronounce it "boh" or "boze," as you wish.
Eicher says that he and partners Jeff Eubanks, Robert Cotterman, and Robert Giljum are also planning to introduce a low-key but interesting cocktail program, with the aid of a bar consultant. And during the week, he hopes that the stage can be used at least once a week for the type of performances that used to be hosted at Josie's Cabaret and Juice Joint (where Starbelly is now). That could include drag queens from out of town like Lady Bunny, cabaret, or comedy shows.
The renovation is expected to take several months, and Eicher's sad to say Beaux will not be open in time for Gay Pride week. But they are hoping for a late summer debut.
The Midnight Sun, however, should be in brand new shape by June. Without closing the bar, the team began remodeling on Monday, with the aid of designer Craige Walters (who also recently designed Fable). The plan is to expand the bar slightly in the back, and to add ADA-compliant restrooms at the rear as well. By removing the restroom that currently occupies the front of the bar, this will enable them to open up the front wall to the street. As was discussed in conjunction with the preservation of nearby Twin Peaks, gay bars back in the day tended not to have windows on the street, for the sake of customers' privacy and to avoid police raids, and the Midnight Sun is the last vestige of that in the neighborhood. But not for long.