Worth A Listen: The State of LGBTQ Bars in Greater LA During the Pandemic

Flaming Saddles

Jacqui Squatriglia, the co-owner of the now permanently closed West Hollywood gay bar Flaming Saddles, initially figured they would go through tough times when the bar was forced to close last March at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but though they could survive it.

“As the pandemic got worse, we were like, okay, as long as everyone just stays healthy, we can dig out later. It’s just going to be a fiasco of a fiscal nightmare, but let’s just stay healthy and dig out on the other side,” Squatriglia said during a recent segment of the “Greater LA” news program on radio station KCRW (89.9 FM).

She reported having a good relationship with landlord Monte Overstreet, the man who owns the building at 8811 Santa Monica Blvd. which housed the country-western bar. Squatriglia figured she and Overstreet could work out an equitable arrangement to deal with upheaval of the pandemic.

However, the relationship soured as the pandemic dragged on. Finally, unable to come to an agreement with Overstreet, they were forced to close Flaming Saddles permanently in August.

The KCRW segment by reporter Danielle Chiriguayo discussed the sad state of LGBTQ bars in greater Los Angeles with many closing permanently and others struggling to stay alive during this pandemic.

So far, eight LGBT-focused establishments in the LA area have permanently shut their doors due to the pandemic, including long-running bars Rage and Gold Coast in West Hollywood and Oil Can Harry’s in Studio City.

In addition to Flaming Saddles, the KCRW segment also talked to the owner of the Redline bar in downtown Los Angeles as well as the general manager of The Eagle LA in Silverlake. Both bars remain closed due to pandemic shutdown orders, but hope to reopen once restrictions are lifted.

Redline owner Oliver Alpuche and Eagle general manager Hunter Fox each talked about how they are struggling to pay bills and stay afloat with no revenue coming in.

Both bars have started GoFundMe pages hoping to raise money from patrons to cover expenses until they can reopen for business. CLICK HERE for the Redline GoFundMe page. CLICK HERE for The Eagle LA GoFundMe page.

Redline’s Alpuche commented that it is a bizarre reversal of situations when a gay bar, which often is donating to causes or hosting fundraisers, is suddenly the one that is asking for help.

Listen to the KCRW segment here:

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Peel
Peel
15 days ago

which 8?

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
1 month ago

This news is sadder than the faded and torn pride flag atop the former Flaming Saddles.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

why so many articles on bars???

C.R.
C.R.
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Because many people miss going to these places and look forward to the day we can again as we did before.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago
Reply to  C.R.

bars? only alcoholics go to bars.

C.R.
C.R.
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Alcoholics go to meetings. People who drink go to bars. And a lot of people drink. Glad I could help you out with this.

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  C.R.

Agree, and some of us don’t even drink that much. I sort of came out in a gay bar and this was my introduction to gay life (and hookups) for a long while. I’m grateful there are and will always be gay places to socialize. The articles about this subject are relevant.

Peel
Peel
15 days ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

I don’t drink and I go to barz

lkmanoff
15 days ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

nope! I’m in recovery and go with friends that know I don’t drink. I’m their built in designated driver.

Jason K
Jason K
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Because the bar’s are a great place to meet up with your friends and have a good time. Most of the LGBTQIA does not have kids so we don’t have stop going out because we have someone to look after. The only reason my parents stopped going out was because they couldn’t swing it after they had my sister and me.

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