SAN FRANCISCO -- The Old Spaghetti Factory, a restaurant-cabaret in the North Beach district that became a hangout for the 'beat generation' in the 1950s and was later given historical landmark status, is going out of business.
After 28 years, the old pasta plant's owner, Fred Kuh, decided to sell out. Sunday, they auctioned off about 750 of the Spaghetti Factory's decorations.
Described by an auctioneer as 'junky -- and funky,' the items included a framed oval photograph of Adlai Stevenson, a lamp in the form of a matador, a 'California Has Gone Topless' poster and a bas relief of dancing girls that was knocked down for $2,500.
The bar itself sold for $18,000 and the liquor license went for $27,000 -- to Brad Lampley, who earlier bought the building itself. He said he is negotiating with another tenant to open a new restaurant on the site.
The reclusive Kuh was described as 'hibernating' during Sunday's auction, attended by about 350 people. In a 1977 interview, Kuh gave this description of the place:
'It was the city's first camp-de-cor restaurant, but it wasn't called camp then. Sometimes I think I started it as a dumping ground for my compulsive rat-pack collection of Victorian kitsch, declasse furniture, baubles and gewgaws I picked up cheap at auctions and warehouses before this stuff came into vogue and prices zoomed.'
A large canvas painting of two angels veiling, or unveiling, a woman, sold for $475.
'When you see a woman without her clothes, that's barroom art,' said auctioneer Ed Schwartz. 'This is bordello art, women with clothes, to preserve the dignity of the occasion.'