The Deal Is Done: David Cooley Acquires Here Lounge

The long-rumored acquisition of Here Lounge by The Abbey‘s David Cooley is happening.

Cooley’s publicist confirmed today that the deal has been done. Here’s last open night will be Feb. 21. Cooley will renovate the space to create a new venue, The Chapel at The Abbey. Here is located adjacent to The Abbey on Robertson Boulevard just south of Santa Monica. An earlier attempt to complete the sale fell through.

The Abbey Cooleys
David Cooley

Pat Rogers, a highly experienced restaurant and bar owner, opened Here Lounge 15 years ago. Rogers, 73, said that what he will miss most is the Here staff. Many of the kids have been with us since Day One,” he said of his staff. “They’ve become sort of like family to me. We didn’t run it like a corporate operation. i always took a personal interest in the kids.”

Rogers has a lengthy history in the restaurant and bar business. He started his career as a page af the front desk of Four Seasons in New York and also worked at Dobson’s, a famed New York City celebrity restaurant that now is closed. Rogers also opened Rogers & Barbero and later with his partners opened FoodBar in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, both of which were go-to spots for gay New Yorkers.

Rogers said he thinks Cooley will make “smart changes” to the Here property. “I think he’s doing the best,” he said. Rogers is planning a trip to Thailand in April but will sell his New York City apartment and continue to live here.

The Abbey, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in May, is a renowned gay restaurant and lounge that has increasingly attracted an affluent heterosexual crowed.

David Cooley originally opened The Abbey as a coffee shop. It has evolved into what many see as the most popular gay bar in Southern California. In 2006, SBE Entertainment acquired a stake in The Abbey. Last year Cooley bought out SBE’s stake. Cooley also has worked on plans for a gastropub around the corner on Santa Monica Boulevard that was to be called Cooley’s. Work on that project has frozen. People on the inside in the restaurant/bar community have said that Lisa Vanderpump, the reality TV performer and owner of Sur and P.U.M.P., is negotiating to take over that space. However Brian Rosman, Cooley’s publicist, told WEHOville that no such negotiations are taking place.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story said that David Cooley’s has a right of first refusal to lease other property adjacent to and near Cooley’s on the south side of Santa Monica Boulevard.  That is incorrect and the story has been changed to correct that.


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Robert
Guest
Robert

I loved going to the Abby one afternoon to stop by for a cocktail on a sunny day at around 5pm and getting served a well Rum and Coke for $14. Rediculious! And late night after bar hopping to stop in and get a pastry for the drive home to see the pastry attendant touch everything with bare hands and texting on his phone- very unsanitary. This place is overrated and not fun

JOR
Guest
JOR

Why do you continue to put periods after P.U.M.P.? It is spelled PUMP!

Henry (Hank) Scott
Admin

It opened as P.U.M.P. and still is referred to that way by more carefully edited publications.

Jonathan Simmons
Guest
Jonathan Simmons

History – was it the very early 1970’s when the STONEWALL bar in NYC was RAIDED for the last time (for being a gay gathering place) when several BRAVE Drag Queens FOUGHT the police putting them into a police transit truck – Starting the Gay Revolution. THE WORLD HAS CHANGED …. but not that long ago. But this topic has nothing to do with the article. ABOUT THE ARTICLE – my response: IT’S ABOUT TIME – the Abby (which I haven’t been to in 15 years at least) has been so popular and over crowed (while Here and the failed… Read more »

Dwardo
Guest
Dwardo

@A Citizen. Weho and all gay enclaves of LA used to be cool. The 90s was the last cool and palpable period of gay culture. Where rock met house and cruising was an art. Then the hipster and beardos came around and the Internet and the music went to shite. Cherry, The Men’s Room, Sinamatic. Even Rage and Mickeys had character back when they were single story divey clubs. But that’s all in the past and the magic will never come around again. So make the best of your bigger, bolder, and ostentatious weho with expensive drinks. It’s what the… Read more »

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

Love it! David Cooley the best and most generous man in town! They hate is unbelievable to someone who has literally transformed West Hollywood and given a place for gays to feel comfortable and loved. Women in gay clubs is evolution of acceptance and love for gays, embrace it, don’t reject it! You can’t fight for equality and then want to discriminate! CONGRATS DAIVD! you just keep winning and people keep loving you! ONWARD !

A Citizen
Guest
A Citizen

Abby use to be cool, before it became a straight bar with over priced drinks filled with desperate people, desperately trying to be something their not.. Abbey if or the un cool

robert
Guest
robert

like I said, who cares who goes to the Abby? Its a public place, anyone can go there. if you don’t like loud, drunk women go somewhere else My issue with the Abby is the food and service still sucks. of course its a success. people will follow like sheep to be seen at a popular place no matter if the food and service is horrible. its all about being seen and that is the reason for the success of the Abby. If a new place became more popular the people would go there and the Abby would fold. most… Read more »

Dwardo
Guest
Dwardo

Gays are the first to cry “discrimination!” if they feel slighted in a straight bar. In fact you will go out of your way to put that bar on blast for homophobia even when it wasn’t. Like I said before, you’ve become what you hate like the hypocrites you are. You’re not even trying to hide your bigotry.

And since when are gays angels in their own bars? You are every bit the cackling partiers behaving badly your female counterparts are.

BlueEyedBoy
Guest
BlueEyedBoy

Yeah, well, Zam Loomstein, that’s all well and good, but still Paul had the best response here in this discussion: “Comparing civil rights & equality to the theme of a bar is laughable. There are gay bars, karaoke bars, sports bars, cigar bars, biker bars, etc… People should respect the clientele each was designed to serve.” Why do we have to constantly be adjusting to accommodate everybody else? If a new group starts to attend a bar with an established style and a certain type of entertainment, and they don’t like it, why should we do anything differently to make… Read more »

robert
Guest
robert

Dwardo, you are either straight, young or a self loathing gay man (there are lots of them).Straights have been oppressing gays for ever and I am glad that changes are being made to stop them, but we are still a long way away from being free from their oppression. Same goes for Republican and , yes Scalia dying is a great opportunity to replace him with someone who doesn’t hate us. Don’t get me started on Christians. They are a double whammy, they hate us naturally and are trained to hate us in their churches. Which doesn’t make sense to… Read more »

Dwardo
Guest
Dwardo

@Christopher

It’s because you gays bring your “hags” there. You can’t have it both ways.

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

I love straight people that crow about how gays should get over straights barging into their social worlds. We’re all assimilated now they claim. Bull. Let’s see a gay couple get up and dance at a bar in El Monte, and they will end up in the hospital. Straights, especially single women, know they are safe in a gay environment, while gays are still not safe in most straight drinking establishments if they show any outward signs of affection. Why so many women want to hang so much with gay guys has always puzzled me a bit and they are… Read more »