Gym Sports Bar and Grill Manager Previews What’s to Come in New Location

Gym Bar’s original location at 8737 Santa Monica Blvd.

When Gym Bar reopens at its new location, it will officially change its name to Gym Sports Bar and Grill and begin serving food.

“We’ll have an American menu – burgers, fries, wraps, chicken sandwiches, some breakfast items,” general manager Gio Vitulli told WEHOville. “It will be the typical food you would expect to find in a sports bar, but it will be a little bit healthier.”

Vitulli offered that taste of what’s to come to whet the appetite for the new Gym Bar. He wasn’t ready to share all the details of what they have planned, but did say they have “great things planned.”

Gym Bar and Grille has started a GoFundMe fundraiser page to help with the expenses of the reopening in a new location. They are hoping to raise $75,000 from the public.

Vitulli explains with some financing from the public, Gym bar can reopen even soon, possibly early spring.

“Help me build you a new home,” Vitulli said of the GoFundMe campaign.

He’s anxious to get the new place opened, reporting people frequently stop him on the street to say how much they miss Gym Bar.

“My husband and I live close to the boulevard and when we walk, we are constantly being asked, ‘When is Gym Bar reopening?’,” reported Vitulli. “People miss the place and want it back.”

Vitulli and his husband, entertainer Gary Thomas (who recently launched a virtual variety show called Headliners), are celebrating their 22nd anniversary on Wednesday (Jan. 27). The two met while living in Las Vegas, where Vitulli worked at the Imperial Palace.

During the recession, the couple moved to West Hollywood. Vitulli worked for two years at Rage before moving to Gym Bar where he was the assistant manager for seven years until it closed. However, at the new place, he will be the manager.

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 kickball, tennis, flag football, etc. with the Varsity Gay League rec sports teams.

“We really became a home for the dodgeball kids and the kickball kids,” said Vitulli.

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.

Gym Bar was the first of four gay bars in West Hollywood to close permanently due to lease problems connected to the coronavirus pandemic. The others were Flaming Saddles, Rage and Gold Coast.

However, it turns out Gym Bar did not close permanently. Vitulli declined to name the exact location where the new Gym Sports Bar and Grill will open, saying that will be announced shortly.

However, it is widely rumored that Gym Sports Bar and Grill 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.

Meanwhile, Vitulli bubbles with enthusiasm saying people are going to like the new location even more.

“This is an exciting time. I’m so glad this is happening,” said Vitulli. “I can’t wait to be part of the community again.”

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Miguel Sanchez
Miguel Sanchez
1 month ago

Healthy sports bar food? Umm, okay…

FJ1
FJ1
1 month ago
Reply to  Miguel Sanchez

Yeah…ah, no.

Ragan
1 month ago

I’m sympathetic to gay businesses closing as a result of COVID-19. Each story about a new closure makes me sad. But I’m confused as to why they’re creating a GoFundMe to finance their re-opening. It’s basically asking the public to invest without $75k without any obligation to return the investment, let alone share in profit. Wouldn’t it be more realistic to take out a loan or seek investors?

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

That would definitely make more sense. Banks and investors are probably cautious, considering that it’s unclear what the future holds. I get the feeling that they think that serving food will be the good luck they need to make this work.

Larry Block
Larry Block
1 month ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

How much equity you selling? I’m glad to listen to your proposal.

WeHo Poster
WeHo Poster
1 month ago
Reply to  Ragan

It sure is shameless!

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

who cares about some bar? no real issues to write about?

Randy
Randy
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

The community of us who gathered there frequently care deeply. Just because you don’t care, doesn’t mean many others do not.

Gene Bivins
Gene Bivins
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

There will be a life after the pandemic, and it’s not out of line to talk about it now. If you think it’s silly, just scroll on by.

Todd B
Todd B
1 month ago

Good luck with Monte Overstreet as your new landlord. He’s not exactly forgiving or flexible with his tenants. Good location. I’ll be a customer if it opens.

FJ1
FJ1
1 month ago

It’s no mystery where it’s going.

9E01FFA8-A88F-4175-8D42-FB445C6A0D8D.jpeg
Jon Ponder
Jon Ponder
1 month ago
Reply to  FJ1

Yeah, I saw that too. It’s in the side window on Hilldale.

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