A hustler bar becomes a church

James Beales and David Kapp

James Beales and David Kapp. Photo by Gabriela Hasbun

James Beales and David Kapp, managers of Deco Lounge

“I think that the demise of the Polk Street gay scene was a natural progression. I think business nowadays couldn’t support that many bars on the street…I was just upset that when we tried to hold the Club RondezVous as one last bastion of the gay history and culture on Polk Street that we were stamped out like that at the end….To be sent out like that was wrong. It was like salt in the wound.” (James)

Ron Case

Ron Case. Photo by Gabriela Hasbun

Ron Case, co-founder of Lower Polk Neighbors

“I think if some people do get pushed out…it might be the downside of it, of trying to clean up the neighborhood….If that’s the outcome of people taking over and trying to fix their stores up or fix the bars up to make them more acceptable for more people, I think that’s unfortunately going to be the side effect….You have to make decisions [for] what is best for the neighborhood.”

Wilfried and Ken


Wilfried Glabach. Photo by Gabriela Hasbun

Wilfried and Ken, key figures at Polk Street church.

“The whole city is growing and there is building everywhere, and Polk Street is not alone in that….It definitely is looking better south of California, so if the business owners are having an influence it is slow but definite….And we’ve gotten so many compliments on our church, I’m trying to figure out where the negative is. If this is gentrification, why do so many people like it?” (Ken Tipton)

Myles O'Reilly

Myles O'Reilly. Photo by Gabriela Hasbun

Myles O'Reilly, owner of O'Reilly's Holy Grail

“Unfortunately I think San Francisco being a safe haven for whatever you are, illegal alien, whatever you are, it’s also a destination for a lot of unfortunate people….And they are a danger and a damage to themselves and everyone else….The police have been very cooperative in every way, and a very pleasant way as well, in terms of having a safer street. And a safer city. And I think Polk Street is really going to come back to its glory in the next five to ten years.”