CALISTOGA — The image of a sexy woman on a new awning over an old-time Calistoga bar ran into a barrage of criticism before the Planning Commission last week.
On Wednesday, city planning commissioners said the new logo on Susie’s bar sends the wrong message and must come off the awning.
Chairman Paul Coates noted it may have been appropriate 75 years ago when the bar was founded, “But I don’t think it is anymore. I think it’s disrespectful to women. I’m here to look out for the community, and especially with the #metoo movement, we do have a new way of looking at things.”
Commissioner Alissa McNair said she wasn’t necessarily bothered by the new logo on the Lincoln Avenue establishment, but wasn’t sure it enhances the character of the town.
Vice chairman Tim Wilkes said, “As a wayfinding element, I see this and my first reaction is ‘there’s a strip club in town.’”
Staff approved a sign permit in March to replace the old blue awning with a gray one and limited only to the words “Susie’s Bar.” Staff became aware in May that the image of a voluptuous woman was also on the new awning, and told the owners that they must seek additional approval and cover up the image until a decision was made.
Susie’s submitted an additional sign permit application saying the image was the bar’s logo.
Frank Kibbish, one of the owners of Susie’s, said it was a misunderstanding and apologized for the signs being an issue. When he initially got the permit, he didn’t receive a list of requirements and didn’t know there was another permit for artwork, he said.
“The old awning was pretty bad and we thought we were doing something better for the community,” he said.
Kibbish also said he’s tried to cover up the image but nothing will stick to the awning.
Planning Commissioner Scott Cooper spoke in favor of the new logo.
“I personally like it. It reminds me of a logo you would have seen on the front of a B-52 bomber back in 1944 when Americans were patriotic and respected the flag. I do understand we’re in a different era now,” he said.
Commissioners did not object to the bar keeping a vintage image of a buxom woman on the entrance door.