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New owner of former Bourbon Street San Diego space revealed

SAN DIEGO, California -- John Pani, proprietor of Waypoint Public restaurant in North Park, has taken over the lease to Bourbon Street San Diego and the adjacent Lei Lounge, according to a report by Eater San Diego.

SDGLN reported Monday morning that Bourbon Street and Lei Lounge had been sold at the end of 2014 by brothers Michael and Bill Weiss. Bourbon Street has been a staple of San Diego's LGBT community since opening in 1987, with the Weiss brothers opening Lei Lounge next door in 2006.

Bourbon Street and Lei Lounge were a major part of the transformation of the University Heights business district to the vibrant place that it is today, and both clubs played host to hundreds of special events, fundraisers and celebrations over the years.

According to the Eater, Pani is the founder and CEO of of ELE (Experience. Live. Enjoy.) Collective, which also owns and operates Hotel Vyvant in Little Italy. Pani told the Eater that he will renovate the 5,000-square-foot Bourbon Street and the 2,000-square-foot Lei Lounge, and continue to operate them as separate spaces. He did not provide any other details.

"With the new location, we look forward to introducing an entirely new concept to San Diego as a whole, but we’re most excited to be given the opportunity to breathe new life into a well-loved neighborhood gem," Pani told the Eater. "University Heights is such a distinctive destination within the Uptown neighborhoods; we want to provide locals with a gathering place that is uniquely identifiable to their community."

Many in the community speculate that the venues will be renamed and feature a craft-beer concept.

Throughout the day, community members continued to post memories of time spent at Bourbon Street during its nearly 30-year run. Additional details about the future of the venue will be reported as they are known.