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The Struggle of Lefty O’doul’s is the Story of San Francisco

The fight for Lefty O’doul’s is a fight between a community of working class San Franciscans and a wealthy landlord.  It’s a fight between those who actively work to create what makes San Francisco special, against those who simply wish to profit from it.  A familiar, and almost timeless story in the Bay Area.

On Monday, Lefty O’doul’s owner Nick Bovis along with former mayor Willie Brown, and Lefty O’doul’s very own great-nephew Pat O’doul, took a stand against the landlord who sought to kick them out and take the Lefty O’doul’s name for his own.

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Pat O’doul, Willie Brown, Nick Bovis, Joe Cotchett holding a press conference monday

It’s not a simple story.  It’s a feud between the heads of two families.  Nick Bovis, the son of Greek immigrants who have been small business owners and operators in the Union Square area for decades VS Jon Handlery, the landlord who some in the area have dubbed ‘the Donald Trump of Union Square‘, because he inherited a hotel fortune from his father and is believed to be the biggest property owner in the district.  Handlery is the guy who kicked out the legendary Gold Dust Lounge and replaced it with an ‘Express’…because everyone knows that Union Square needs more corporate retail and less locally owned and historical nightlife.

lefty bar verticle smThe Bovis family Attorney Joe Cotchett along with former Mayor Willie Brown made it abundantly clear Monday that the ‘Lefty O’doul’s’ name is owned by the Bovis Family, it’s Federally trademarked and indisputable.  Not only does Bovis have the legal right to the name, the actual relatives of Lefty O’doul support them too.  Pat O’doul said Monday, “The Bovis family IS Lefty O’doul’s”.

” The Bovis family IS Lefty O’doul’s! 

Handlery is ignoring all of that, and says he has plans to reopen Lefty O’doul’s despite not owning the name or any of the Lefty O’doul’s products.  To make matters worse, Handlery is claiming he owns Lefty O’doul’s memorabilia, claiming since he owns the building, he owns Lefty’s things as well.  As one of Lefty’s staff put it, “it’s sad, he’s got millions (Handlery) to throw at lawyers, even though he’s wrong, he can keep it going in court for years.”

“Handlery is trying to steal home plate without even facing the pitcher” -Former Mayor Willie Brown

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Lefty’s owner Nick Bovis & former Mayor Willie Brown posing with the plaques of all the SFPD horses who have been retired at Leftys over the years

The a mark of a good bar owner is how they treat their staff.  Many of the waitresses, managers, & bartenders at Lefty’s have been there for years, even decades.  Bovis vowed to find jobs for all of his staff while he works on reopening (the real) Lefty O’doul’s somewhere else in the Union Square area, with all the awesome memorabilia along with the staff that made the place great.

As for Handlery, we suggest he start his own bar, with his own brand.  He can call it “Righty O’Handlery’s” or “TGI Thursdays”.  Hell, he can lease the old building to another corporate clothing retailer if he wants want.  But do the right thing, leave Lefty’s in the hands of The Bovis & O’doul families, it belongs with them.

Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio & Lefty O'doul on vaction together

Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio & Lefty O’doul saying goodbye

We are excited and hopeful for a new Lefty’s location, run by the people who make it a great place to eat and drink.  We will let our readers know when and where the real Lefty O’doul’s reopens.

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

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