How gay is the Abbey? That’s a question that’s been asked by gay men in Los Angeles for years. But now it’s being asked by The New York Times in an article examining the identity crisis of gay bars across the country.
While some gay men are accepting of women in gay bars, others interviewed by The Times are not. “They think of us as ‘fun’ and ‘free,’” said one young man. “It seems like they’re coming in to find their next accessory, like a new handbag.”
Citing something it calls “gay bar tourism,” the article notes that “the Abbey’s expansion into a restaurant and dance club, not to mention setting for a reality TV show, has drawn an increasingly diverse crowd, creating a windfall for the club but also some tension among its longtime patrons.”
It’s been quite a few years since The Abbey could truly be called a gaybar. And it’s more SBE’s doing than Cooley. When DC re-acquired The Abbey, it was a caricature of it’s former self (evident by a prominent spot on the TMZ bus tour. To Cooley’s credit, he seems to have recognized that and is trying to keep The Chapel mostly gay. By focusing on The Chapel and abandoning the fight for Cooley’s, the result may be a true transformation for that section of Santa Monica Blvd, thus ending the frequent turnover of retail/restaurants. So, The Abbey being gentrified… Read more »
It seems a case of the proverbial “unintended consequences”. The original idea was supposedly a friendly welcoming of the straight community to share together with us. A sweet, elderly last-century naivete: Instead of sharing they would take over over and bring all their problems along with them. The city’s Security Ambassadors and sheriffs are routinely piled up in front of Abbey. It is a running joke on the street when hearing a siren “Another bunch of drunk girls piled up at the Abbey.).
While it can be seen as a shame that WeHo gay bars have been invaded/taken over by straights, I don’t blame the bar owners – they’re just trying to make a buck from anyone who’ll pay to be in their establishments. It’s apps like Grindr, Scruff, Tinder, etc., which have changed things; they’ve become an easier, cheaper, more effective way for gays to meet other gays, than to hang out in bars while nursing expensive drinks and scoping out a room for hours on end. Technology has outmoded the need for geographical gay regions. Whereas we once needed (for the… Read more »
Relax. Boys will be boys. They will always need a place to go. The Abbey ain’t the only game in town. It’s been rather quite a yawn for years. Besides – if you’re over 40-45 and still hanging in places like the Abbey… hmmm Maybe time to step it back and let the kids have a go. It’s their turn to rule the world – or so they think; much like we used to…
I think Cooley’s greed is largely responsible for the transformation of Boys Town. It’s all about what suits his lust for more money, power & personal attention. He seems to have no loyalty to the gay men who supported his original little dessert & coffee place & the original present Abbey that allowed him to keep growing & changing without any regard for the gay community’s needs. If he had any loyalty, he would have at least followed through on his original plans for “Cooley’s” as a gay establishment instead of selling out again to an enterprise that would help… Read more »