ABC Department Closes WeHo’s Here Lounge

Here Lounge Suspension Notice
Here Lounge Suspension Notice
Here Lounge is the latest West Hollywood gay bar to face penalties from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for allegations of lewd conduct by go go dancers.

Here co-owner Pat Rogers confirmed today that Here’s closure for a month, earlier described by WEHOville as part of a remodeling project, has been ordered by the ABC department. A sign went up on the door of the lounge at 696 N. Robertson Blvd. south of Santa Monica on Tuesday. According to the sign, the suspension will be lifted on Jan. 1, 2014.

The Here suspension and ABC fines levied against Mickys, the gay bar at 8857 Santa Monica Blvd. at Larrabee, prompted the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to convene a meeting between bar owners and ABC representatives last month to discuss enforcement of ABC laws.

Genevieve Morrill, president of the Chamber, said the bar owners present, all of whom have go go dancers at their establishments, expressed concern that ABC doesn’t notify them of violations until many months after they occur. The owners also questioned the relevance of the lewd conduct laws, enforced by ABC, which were written 43 years ago.

While the bar owners are upset about the ABC enforcement practices, they also are concerned that a competitor, who none would identify publicly, is alerting ABC to alleged violations of its lewd conduct laws.

“I think it’s a competitor,” Rogers said. “I received an email in July saying that this particular person is doing that.” The ABC inspectors have said they only visit locations where alcoholic beverages are served on receipt of a complaint.

Nightlife in West Hollywood’s “Boystown,” the blocks on the west end of Santa Monica Boulevard where most gay bars, clothing stores and restaurants are located, is becoming more competitive. There are a dozen bars and nightclubs there and on an adjoining block of North Robertson Boulevard, where Here is located. That competition will ramp up next year with the expected opening of PUMP by Lisa Vanderpump at the southeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and North Robertson and of Cooley’s, a hundred feet away, by David Cooley, founder of the iconic Abbey.

Rogers said the closing will have an impact on his employees, who won’t be working for a month. “Some of my kids were panicked,” he said. “Thank God I have a little money put aside. I’m watching every penny I have.”

Rogers reiterated objections to ABC enforcement rules that were raised in the Chamber of Commerce meeting. He said he had received details about the ABC complaint only today, although the ABC report said its investigation of Here started in May and included three visits.

“I don’t understand why they don’t give us a warning,” he said. “”If I had been warned, I would have taken action.”

Rogers said Here faced 27 complaints. One was that an employee had served a patron a drink without charging for it. The others cited Here and various go go dancers, who are employed by nightlife promoters who contract with Here. Among the violations were not having the dancers on a platform at least 18 inches from the floor and at least six feet from patrons. That would make it impossible for patrons to give tips to dancers, a major source of their income.


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BlueEyedBoy
Guest
BlueEyedBoy

For me it’s not about conservatism or liberalism; it’s about freedom. The right to choose how I am entertained is so benign I wonder what the real agenda is for those who want to interfere in that choice. Clearly a lot of people enjoy the entertainment provided by places like Here Lounge and Mickey’s, so the market has spoken. Why does the ABC care about go-go dancers who are happy to give their customers what they want when public safety is not an issue, and when those who don’t care for it are not required to be there to see… Read more »

GMcG
Guest
GMcG

First they decimated the porn industry in LA and now they are going after the night club. What is going on? Invasion of the prudes?

BlueEyedBoy
Guest
BlueEyedBoy

I have been to bars all over this continent, and, by comparison, WeHo is gonna be like Oklahoma! I see naked male dancers everywhere I go; Atlanta, New Orleans, Miami, Dallas, Washington DC, San Juan, Toronto, and Montreal are places I have been to within the last few months. What danger do these performers present to the public? They aren’t having sex, really. They are providing entertainment people are willing to pay for ………. then everybody goes home! Female performers are doing it all around us ……. but since women don’t get even semi erections, I wonder if that’s why… Read more »

Here, get over yourself.
Guest
Here, get over yourself.

Karma. I was a regular for years at the friday ladies night, Truckstop. I went to celebrate a friend’s birthday two months ago there and we got a bottle, a lap dance, and many (many) drinks for about a dozen people. The night was going fine until a body guard assaulted my friend in the bathroom line. My trans friend wanted to use one of the boys private bathrooms (there are two stand alone bathrooms with one private toilet and sink) and the guard physically shoved him and repeatedly demanded to see their ID to prove they were trans. Now,… Read more »

Myles Matisse
Guest

Corruption runs rampant in Sacramento and red tape taints everything and ABC is worried about consentual entertainment? It’s censorship and a need for BS control. Shameful, controlling, homophobic, bigoted, sexist and corrupt.

Eli Rodriguez
Guest
Eli Rodriguez

The same bar owners should unite hold ANY mandating organization that utilizes unreasonable practices responsible for loss. A plan to shut an establishment down without the appropriate amount of time (because this sounds like nothing short of an investigation) to not only notify but also allowing for the establishment to rectify, is not only negligent but damaging.

David Kurtz
Guest

Dear Gawd, there was a day when I walked into that bar and the dancers didn’t have a stitch of clothes on … Where and when the line is drawn to stop people from profit I’m over it.

Brenden Shucart
Guest

I think it is time we do away with the ABC. West Hollywood doesn’t need bureaucrats in Sacramento deciding how far off the ground go-go dancers need to be.

EthanR
Guest
EthanR

So, who controls the ABC? Is it a state or county agency? Certainly charges of discrimination against gay establishments should be directed to the proper officials, wherever they are located or whoever they report to in this Democrat controlled state. Also, there are other means to fight back on people who squeal to cause others economic harm. Let’s get the word out, and boycott that establishment. There’s no point patronizing a place that is trying to harm the economic well-being of the city, or causing problems to our entertainment venues or ability of our entertainment providers to do so unimpeded.… Read more »

90069
Guest
90069

This does not have an impact on the dancers livelihoods AT ALL. They simply move down the street to another bar or club that may or may not be breaking the same rules. The only people impacted by this closure are the bartenders, barbacks, bussers, and servers at this establishment., all of whom have nothing to do with the dancers whatsoever. The dancers violating rules should be fined, as well as the promoters that hire them.

jimmypalmieri
Guest

THis is insanity. The ABC is showing such bias against gay men and dancers that it is now making an impact on their livelihoods. . This is all under the guise of the “liquor” serving law. It is simply unadulterated homophobia.

Brandon
Guest
Brandon

If their marketing person doesn’t come up with the most awesome open-at-midnight-on-NYE party ever, they should be fired. I mean, yeah, you lose out on a month of income, but you can spend the time promoting the most epically awesome NYE party ever.