‘Eleven’ Sale May Bring Country/Western Nightlife to WeHo’s Boystown

The interior of Flaming Saddles, a gay country/western bar on Ninth Avenue at 53rd Street in New York City's Hell's Kitchen.
The interior of Flaming Saddles, a gay country/western bar on Ninth Avenue at 53rd Street in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen.

Eleven Restaurant and Nightclub, a well-known gay venue in West Hollywood’s Boystown, is in the process of being sold to a couple known for their Country/Western gay bar in New York City.

“I still don’t have everything worked out, but it looks like it’s going to happen,” said Richard Grossi, who opened Eleven in 2007. Grossi said the sale only will be finalized if the buyers are able to get the necessary permits from the city and state agencies. The sale price reportedly is $1.5 million.

richard grossi, eleven restaurant and nightclub
Richard Grossi

One crucial permit, from the state Board of Alcohol and Beverage Control, already has been granted to Flaming Saddles WeHo LLC. Flaming Saddles is owned by Jacqui Squatriglia and Chris Barnes, whose Flaming Saddles bar on Ninth Avenue in New York City has been described by The New York Times as “a homage to a frontier-town saloon, or perhaps to the set of ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ (and having) a down-home sensibility rooted in a kind of nostalgia for places where the cowboys are real.”

Squatriglia and Barnes, who is her boyfriend, have said they want to open Flaming Saddles bars in gay neighborhoods across the country. Grossi said he likes the concept. “I think one of the problems we have here, we didn’t have a set identity,” he said, noting that bars and nightclubs in the city’s Boystown neighborhood typically feature various themed nights orchestrated by outside promoters. “Places that have a set identity do better.”

Grossi opened Eleven, which is at 8811 Santa Monica Blvd. at Larrabee, in February 2007 with a party hosted by Beyonce and People magazine. He designed the two-level space himself. The historic 1922 building was designed by Beverly Hills architect Asa Hudson and once housed the First National Bank of Sherman, which was the original name of the area that eventually became West Hollywood. Later it housed the Larrabee Sound Studio where performers such as Cher, Donna Summer, Patti La Belle and Prince did recordings.

Business owners in the Boystown area have complained about a decline in business in recent years. One bar, Rage, recently changed hands with its new owner promising to revamp its entertainment offerings to bring back the gay crowd it had lost.

Grossi said a recent remodeling of Eleven gave a boost to his nightclub business but that the restaurant business still suffered. “Our weekends are the best they’ve ever been,” he said of the bar business. “During the week, the food component is terrible –a money loser.”

Grossi said he loved managing Eleven, but the job is stressful. “I’ve been doing this for eight years. There’s the stress because I have to be here all the time. I’ve had enough for myself. It’s odd because I actually love it. But I think I just want to become a customer again.”

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DK
5 years ago

@El FuturoWed, “If anyone leaves Weho with an $50 parking ticket, they’re an idiot.” Yeah, they’re an idiot for going out in WeHo and dealing with the parking and traffic nightmare that City Council’s dismissiveness, inattention, and greed has exacerbated instead of going out elsewhere in Los Angeles where their visits are not viewed as an immediate opportunity to write as many parking tickets as possible.

DK
5 years ago

“none of theses areas have convenient, free parking that is “right next to their destination.: Actually yes they do, and I know they do as 1) visit these places often and have none of the parking problems encountered in WeHo, certainly not ridiculous tickets for “curbing your tires” and 2) I lived in Hermosa for years recently, not in 1985. But keep lying and making excuses. Nobody wants to park in a parking structure and walk blocks to their destination. Is this what passes for urban planning in WeHo? Utterly stupid. A stubborn, corrupt City Council that does what it… Read more »

Larrabee Grouch
Larrabee Grouch
5 years ago

so does anyone know when this is going through? Eleven has already closed its dinner service (though I imagine that may have happened weeks ago) and I saw the notice in front about the sale. when is it official?

djfox1983
5 years ago

Another basic WEHO club with an unimaginitive concept is gone? Good riddance. I’m sure Rich is a great guy and I wish him the best of luck, but the core of the gay ghetto has to evolve beyond clones of what Rage wishes it still were.

John Eric
John Eric
5 years ago

I can’t comment on the young crowds at night. But as one of the Happy Hour regulars for the past few years, Eleven has definitely been going downhill and the remodel of the bar accelerated this decline. Only Musical Mondays fill up the place with a fun crowd. But we’ve always known that the bar barely tolerates the Happy Hour customers. I guess it’s time to move to Palm Springs before I hit 60! Let’s hope that prime location remains a fun gay spot.

Flores St.
Flores St.
5 years ago

1. The people here complaining about parking for going to the bars really need to re-prioritize their problems in life. The parking at the most convenient structure, the library, is $9 on the weekends, less during the week. If that is too rich for your blood, you can park at Kings Rd for $5. There is also the parking lot on top of 24 Hr, which is usually a little cheaper than the library structure. You could either walk down to the bars from there, or get the Pick-up on the weekends. 2. Weho is not less and less gay.… Read more »

Roy
Roy
5 years ago

I love eleven as a bar but had too many bad food experiences to want to eat there. Once I sent back a bad piece of chicken and all I got was the check, lol

Larrabee Grouch
Larrabee Grouch
5 years ago

John – The remodel was not ill conceived at all, Eleven’s numbers are up on Friday and have never been busier on Saturday. Eleven as a whole is doing better than it has in years, especially during anemic 2009-2011 period when Fridays were its only busy night. Now it has Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday surely making bank. Wonder when this deal will go through…

El Futuro
El Futuro
5 years ago

@SaveWeho: Are you proposing Free Gay Only Parking or a Straight Tow Away Zone?

You’re either a genius or one of those people that leaves Weho with a $50 parking ticket.

SaveWeho
SaveWeho
5 years ago

@JonP — Parking makes huge sense for the community. Not everyone lives within walking distance to the bars & restaurants. And I would much rather spend $10 at Eleven for Happy Hour than feed the meters or parking garage for the greedy city. Yes…Weho is still packed on weekends…but take a look who is coming to Weho. The yuppie class, straights, bachelorette parties, urban nights. Weho is less and less “gay”. And now Eleven will be gone with a straight couple buying the business. Weho is becoming a new Sunset Strip. In the process we are losing our identity as… Read more »

Travis
Travis
5 years ago

If a bar in West Hollywood plays country music on a regular basis, it wont survive. At least nowhere near as well as Eleven is doing now. It’s that simple.

John Eric
John Eric
5 years ago

Unfortunately, Eleven has been going downhill for some time now, a decline that was only accelerated by the ill-conceived remodel of the bar. Food service came and went several times and the crowd for Happy Hour has dwindled away. Good luck to the new owners!

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