A Hayes Valley microblog reported this morning (Monday, January 14) that a trio of male buyers is the group purchasing Marlena’s, a famous gay bar in the neighborhood a few blocks away from the city’s LGBT Community Center. The post also said the new owners plan to change the bar’s name.
According to Hayeswire, the men in escrow to buy Marlena’s are Matt Conway, Anthony Healy-London, and Josh McAdam. Conway is the bar manager at nearby restaurant Absinthe, Healy-London is a co-owner of the gay-friendly Church Street bar Churchill, and McAdam is close friends with Healy-London, according to the website.
Conway and Healy-London plan to be hand-on owners of the bar, while McAdam reportedly will work behind the scenes.
As the Bay Area Reporter reported last week, proprietors Garry McLain, better known as Absolute Empress XXV of San Francisco, Marlena the Magnificent, and his business partner, Janice Buxton, entered into escrow with the buyers Friday, January 4. Due to their being in their 70s, McLain said it was time to sell.
If the sale goes as planned, the new owners would close the bar sometime in March for several months to remodel it and bring it up to current state and city codes.
Buxton and her now-deceased husband, John, opened the bar in 1978 as the Overpass. In 1990 McLain came on as a co-owner of the bar while he was the reigning empress and it was renamed Marlena’s.
As the story noted, McLain said he was unsure about the name remaining the same but that the new owners, who declined the B.A.R.’s interview request made through McLain, wanted to maintain the bar as a hangout “welcoming to both gay and straight” patrons.
The neighborhood website said that it received a message from Healy-London confirming that the trio plans to drop the Marlena’s moniker for the bar but do not have a new name as of yet.
Healy-London is quoted as saying that, “We are in discussion with Marlena/Gary about what of the Marlena’s traditions will continue. We understand what Marlena’s has meant (and continues to mean) to this neighborhood and we are sensitive to that in our decision-making process. We are really excited to be joining a neighborhood that we already love and know very well.”