Gym Bar Launches a GoFundMe Page to Help Open in a New Location

Original location of Gym Bar at 8737 Santa Monica Blvd.

Gym Bar officials are declining to comment to WEHOville just yet about their specific plans for the future, but it seems with the launch of GoFundMe fundraiser page that the LGBT sports bar will be making a comeback in a new location.

Gym Bar posted a GoFundMe page over the weekend asking for help in raising $75,000.

“After much soul searching we decided that we needed to keep our business going, to try to find a new home in West Hollywood to put down roots and reopen offering the same loving, chill, everyone is welcome vibe but in a space where we could continue to grow and thrive for years to come,” reads part of the statement of the GoFundMe page.

“We are thrilled to announce we have found that space,” the statement continues. “We have been working with our landlord and the City of West Hollywood to obtain our permits and begin construction on Gym Sports Bar and Grill.”

The statement does not give a specific location; however, it is widely rumored that Gym Bar will be moving into the location at 8919 Santa Monica Blvd. which housed the Halal Brothers restaurant until it closed during the pandemic. Before that, the Champagne French Bakery Cafe was in that location.

Gym Bar opened in 2009 at 8737 Santa Monica Blvd., at Hancock Avenue, in the space where the Normandie Room lesbian bar had been located. It quickly became a popular spot due to its laid back atmosphere.

It was a destination for many recreational sports players like the people who played dodgeball in the West Hollywood Auditorium or the people who played tennis, flag football, softball, etc. with the Varsity Gay League.

In July, after being shut down for four months due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, Gym Bar announced it was closing for good. Gym Bar officials said that property owner, Elias Shokrian of Calitex LLC in Beverly Hills, was unwilling to be flexible with the terms of the lease.

With the closing, many assumed Gym Bar was gone for good, but by the fall, rumors kept circulating that sports bar would resurface somewhere in West Hollywood.

On its GoFundMe page, Gym Bar said it is reluctant to ask for the public’s help to get the new location open, but can’t do it without that help. Hunter Haliniak is listed as organizing the fundraiser.

Below is the full text of Gym Bar’s statement:

For 11 years Gym Sportsbar has been a part of the West Hollywood Community. We have loved our time serving as your second living room, a place to gather with your friends to drink, eat, shout at your teams on our TV’s, hang out and just chill and find companionship in the middle of a crazy city. As many of you know the pressure of the prolonged shutdown due to Covid forced us to close our doors at our previous location. It was a very painful decision to have to make, we had invested a lot of time and love in that spot to make it the happy little bar that it was.

After much soul searching we decided that we needed to keep our business going, to try to find a new home in West Hollywood to put down roots and reopen offering the same loving, chill, everyone is welcome vibe but in a space where we could continue to grow and thrive for years to come. We are thrilled to announce we have found that space. We have been working with our landlord and the City of West Hollywood to obtain our permits and begin construction on Gym Sports Bar and Grill.

Reopening in the middle of a pandemic is proving to be even more challenging than we had anticipated, the severity and complications of the ongoing crisis has led to a much longer process than anyone thought possible. We had hoped not to arrive at this point but the reality is, we need your help. We are asking for $75,000.00. Every penny raised will go into the construction and completion of the process. We hope to reopen by sometime in late spring of this year.

We have loved being a part of your community, supporting our sports leagues, hosting our fundraisers, large and small, and being a home away from home for so many awesome people. Here is to beating this damn plague, coming out of the other side as a family, and raising a glass to a kick-ass future.

Love your Gym Bar Family

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Jason K
Jason K
1 month ago

Okay this is getting out of hand. Now every gay bar with in 100 miles of Los Angeles is asking for a donation. I can understand for locations that have been paying rent for months and months, but Gym Bar closed relatively early so this is not for back rent. I am not donating to a person trying to open a new venue. I would like to own a gay bar so does that mean I should just put out a donation request to fund the expense for me open it?

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
1 month ago
Reply to  Jason K

I agree. It’s asking for people to invest in something without a business plan, and without any real return on their investment. Actually, the return on their investment is that they have to spend money at the bar once it opens. Information such as who the current owners are, their qualifications and why they can make this a successful business should be provided. Do they have experience running a kitchen successfully? We should know what plan they have in place if the pandemic continues, or gets worse. What happens if this concept isn’t as appealing in 2021? This isn’t 2002… Read more »

Randy
Randy
1 month ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

Then don’t donate, and don’t complain about. Why should either of you care what this private business does, or other people do with their money? Gym Bar had a very loyal, consistent set of patrons who frequented it often. There was a sense of community. Some of us would like to see it return. A no-frills, mostly gay-oriented bar, which catered to sports fans and non-sports fans alike, as well as a home for the Gay Sports League. It was also, by far, the cheapest place to get drinks between 5 PM and 9 PM. It isn’t 2002, and this… Read more »

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
1 month ago
Reply to  Randy

Why should anyone care about what private businesses do? We should care because successful businesses make our community stronger. Businesses with dodgy planning do the opposite, draining resources from the community (through crowdfunding and other ways) when they fail. I’m still hopeful that they succeed, but in this crazy world, I wouldn’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.

Randy
Randy
1 month ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

The only people who should care about what a business does with their capital are those who invest in it. Be it through crowdfunding, private investors, partners, etc.. And for those of us who do, we can look out for ourselves.

Yes, successful businesses make the community stronger. But if Gym Bar re-opens and fails, it is better than having not re-opened at all.

Jason K
Jason K
1 month ago
Reply to  Randy

Randy them not being able to afford a kitchen saved them from months of not paying rent on an empty building. This is exactly my point. If they are just trying to open their business in a new location then raise capital. Don’t capitalize on the pandemic by asking for money when they really weren’t affected.

David
David
1 month ago

I want to see what the application or permit says on the front door and if there is even anything relevant posted there yet. I’ve always thought sending money via GoFundMe has potential for abuse. What happens if the bar doesn’t re-open?

Cody Warlock
Cody Warlock
1 month ago

Do yourselves a favor and steer clear of property owned by Monte!!

Todd B
Todd B
1 month ago

The new location is much better… BUT their landlord will be Monte Overstreet. Monte is notorious for killing other gay bars like Rage, Flaming Saddles and Gold Coast. Monte demands exceedingly high rents with triple-net leases. The new location will be a restaurant with alcohol service. Halal’s kitchen can’t be easily adapted to the new use. I don’t know how much they plan on investing, but $75k is just a start and the wording of the GoFundMe gives no details about how much their owners/investors are putting in and why $75k is the magic number. I wish them luck.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago

That is a much better location for a bar. I hope they make it work!

Carlos McKinney
Carlos McKinney
1 month ago

Good luck making this work without Jesse. The only (previous) owner who was kind to every guest. Hunter is too selective in whom he is hospitable to. Not a good look as a business owner.

hifi5000
hifi5000
1 month ago

It sounds like a good location they were able to get.It is across the street from the bank and close to San Vicente Blvd., a major cross-street,so it will be easy to find.Glad to hear there are some guys still ready to go on and think of the future.

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