Alfredo Diaz, co-owner of the Revolver video bar in West Hollywood’s gay “Boystown,” will take his campaign against Cooley’s, the “gastropub” that nightlife entrepreneur David Cooley has planned for the same neighborhood, to the West Hollywood City Council on Monday.
The Council will hold a public hearing on Diaz’s request that it overrule a decision by the city’s assistant community development director to grant a development permit for Cooley’s. An earlier appeal by Diaz of that decision was rejected by the city Planning Commission.
Cooley’s is part of what looks to be a significant redevelopment of the south side of Santa Monica Boulevard just east of Robertson. On the corner, Lisa Vanderpump and her husband, Ken Todd, are developing a gay lounge called P.U.M.P. on the lot once occupied by Java Detour, a coffee bar. A few hundred feet east, Cooley, founder of The Abbey, has taken over three vacant spaces and plans to open his restaurant and bar with an outside patio in the front facing Santa Monica Boulevard and one in the rear facing West Hollywood Park. Diaz has objected to the “conditional use permit” that the city granted to Cooley’s, arguing that a future tenant or property owner may take advantage of it to turn the space into a nightclub rather than the restaurant and pub that David Cooley proposes. He also has objected to what he sees as Cooley’s possible impact on users of West Hollywood Park.
In his appeal to the City Council, Diaz raises several objections and makes several requests.
- That approval of Cooley’s be delayed until the master plan for and construction of the adjacent West Hollywood Park is completed to ensure Cooley’s will be an appropriate complement to the park.
The city’s Community Development Department (CDD) argues that the conceptual design arrived at by the park’s developer anticipates shops and restaurants bordering the park and that it will be shielded from Cooley’s to some degree by basketball courts that now sit at the north end of the park.
- That the property fails to meet city requirements for parking spaces.
The CDD says that while the rear patio of Cooley’s will eliminate nine of the 13 onsite parking spaces currently behind the location, Cooley’s will be able to use the city’s parking credits program to acquire permits for additional spaces that would be found in the West Hollywood Library Parking Garage and other places.
- That Cooley’s be allowed to operate only from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 8 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
The CDD notes that it rejected Cooley’s initial request to be allowed to stay open until 4 a.m. It says the approved closing time of 2 a.m. is consistent with that of other bars and restaurants in that nightlife area of West Hollywood.
- That Cooley’s liquor sales be capped at 35 percent of the gross sales revenue received from its sale of food.
The CDD says that the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control requires that the license for a restaurant that serves liquor must have a majority of its revenue come from food sales rather than alcohol sales.
- That DJs, subwoofers (loudspeakers that transmit low bass sounds) and live entertainment not be allowed.
The CDD says that its conditional use permit bars the use of subwoofers and that live entertainment can be offered only in compliance with the city code and entertainment business license. The city allows a business 12 special event permits a calendar year during which live entertainment can be offered.
- That tables and chairs, except for those around the bar, be of a standard height and that occupancy be limited to one and a half times the seating capacity of the space.
These proposals are apparently designed to ensure that Cooley’s remains more of a restaurant than a bar. The CDD said that no more than 10 tables can be higher than 36 inches and that it already has established an occupancy limit of 459 people, which likely will be reduced because of a Planning Commission decision that Cooley’s reduce the proposed size of its rear patio.
I really can’t believe the number of “On Sale” establishments the state has allowed to open up in such a small area. With that said Cooleys has every right to open a restaurant at that location. Not one bar has parking along there, it wasn’t required when these buildings were built. I agree however that the business plan should not be able to change if the restaurant fails. The House of Blues, a real pain in the ass since they started constructing it, was allowed to change their business plan with the promise additional parking would be built. That was… Read more »
Yeah, SL, I’m giving it a rest because I see there’s no point. In this, and in previous threads on this topic, I have stated the case very clearly, but you will never get it. I’ve learned that when you scratch the surface with some people, all you get is more surface.
BlueEyedBoy, it must be demoralizing to have Diaz’s on words contradict your defenses of him. You’re non-answers when you’re confronted with Diaz’s own language that does not support your assertions about what Diaz really wants is akin to 1984-doublespeak. Give it a rest. The council and most everyone else saw through yours and Diaz’s ploy to circumvent fair and reasonable competition.
PeteP, go to the archive and read what has been said on this topic. I don’t feel like repeating myself. You will have to use your critical thinking skills because it’s easy on first glance to conclude that Diaz is trying to eliminate the competition, but that is not what is motivating him. It’s bigger than that.
BlueEyedBoy: Give me a break. How does Diaz’s demand that Cooley’s close by midnight have anything to do with preserving WeHo’s heritage?? It’s about handicapping your competition and everyone knows that.
You’re wrong, SL, but my explaining it one more time isn’t going to change your mind because you clearly know what you know.
Naturally, each and every bar will see a drop in business as people choose to try out a new place when it opens. Yes, new bars mean that the customers of the existing bars and restaurants will be further divided and distributed, resulting in decreased revenue for some of us. How much of a decrease, how long will that last and who will be affected? That no one can say. There isn’t an infinite supply of LGBT residents and visitors to sustain two such mega businesses, not to mention proposed nearby venues such as P.U.M.P. and The Horn. Will these… Read more »
I’ll say it again, PeteP, this is not about competition in business; it’s about preserving what WeHo has always been. Pull up the archives and read what Diaz has said about this, and forget your preconceived notion that he wants only to eliminate competition.
So let me get this straight (no pun intended), the owner of Revolver (which has ZERO parking spaces) is complaining about another bar with not enough parking. If that’s not enough, Revolver (which is open until 2:00 am and is located adjacent to a residential area) is damanding that Cooleys (which is not in a residential area) must close by midnight on weekends. Are you kidding me??? If Revolver agreed to live by the same conditions it is demanding from Cooley’s, I would respect this battle. However, that’s clearly not the case here.
I for one am all for a good Restaurant and Pub with reasonable food and alcohol sales, that said, I think Diaz is right on all points, adding a great place to gather and eat is way more important for this City than adding another Night Club! Reasonable people that keep reasonable hours and whom drink reasonably would not be served properly if the loopholes are left open to interpretation! I say close them and make sure that this is and stays as a Restaurant and pub! I like the 35% ratio on food and alcohol sales! What I do… Read more »
Samuel, it’s not about eliminating competition; it’s about changing the culture of WeHo. Diaz isn’t suggesting it would happen right away, but they could be setting the stage for Cooley’s to become a very different venue than what they would be in their first few months of operation. He is trying to lock Cooley’s in to be only what they say now they intend to be.
Making Weho newer and glitzier is fine — the whole city is going that way — but parking really is going to be a problem here. On most weekends, the library parking as well as the high-rise parking lot across from it are filled up by 11pm already. This does not take into account the new traffic generated by Cooleys. What does the city or Cooleys plan to do about that? Weekend traffic, especially 10pm and after, are Weho’s bread and butter. But there is no realistic parking plan in place for this new venue and this time slot. Seems… Read more »