In West Hollywood, the Chapel is not where you’re going when you’re gonna get married. Now it’s where you’re going when you want to dance and party.
David Cooley, owner of The Abbey, today announced that the adjacent Chapel will have a soft opening beginning Wednesday. The Chapel, on Robertson Boulevard just south of Santa Monica, occupies the space on the north side of The Abbey that formerly housed Here Lounge.
“The Chapel at The Abbey is something totally new for West Hollywood and gay nightlife,” Cooley said. “The Abbey evolved over 25 years from a coffee house into a nightclub, restaurant and bar. With The Chapel, I got to take everything I learned from that evolution to create a new, elevated nightclub and lounge. I built The Chapel for our regulars and local residents, for visitors to our community who want to be dazzled, and for people who want something new and different.”
An announcement of the opening describes The Chapel as a completely separate venue from The Abbey that was designed so that the two would seamlessly flow together with a cohesive aesthetic. “The Chapel continues The Abbey’s church theme, with dark stained wood throughout, gothic lighting features, religious- and medieval-themed statues, a DJ booth inspired by a pulpit, and stained glass windows. The dance floor has state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems—perfect to keep crowds dancing, host screenings, and feature live performances. The Chapel also boasts five large screen 4K televisions, perfect for watching sporting events, award shows, music videos or election returns. The dance floor features two booths in the heart of the action.”
The Chapel will have two bars. The 40-foot Steeple Bar overlooks the patio and has seven bar stations and two draft beer towers. The Chapel Bar overlooks the dance floor with three bar stations. Both bars are covered in copper, which will weather and patina over time. The Chapel will serve over 100 craft cocktails similar to those at The Abbey and a rotating selection of five California craft beers on draft.
With lush greenery and statues throughout the space, The Chapel’s patio has about a dozen moveable tables for guests. The patio is flanked by seven booths, each with its own fireplace and dancer stages between each of the tables.
The Chapel at The Abbey will host its first event on Tuesday, a private fundraiser for the Hillary Clinton campaign, featuring a DJ set by Moby and remarks by Jon Favreau, former director of speechwriting for President Obama and a West Hollywood resident. The Chapel will have a soft-opening for the next several weeks, including through Halloween weekend. For Halloween weekend, West Hollywood’s biggest party, those who purchase wristbands for the Chapel or The Abbey will have access to both venues.
Later this year, the Chapel will install a 48-foot tall steeple. Immediately following the raising of the steeple, The Chapel will host its official grand opening party.
The Chapel at The Abbey was built and designed by Peter Vracko of Vracko Construction and Design. In addition to building out the space as the contractor, Vracko also created the architecture design, interior design and lighting design. Vracko also worked with David Cooley to design and build every iteration of The Abbey over the past 25 years.
Cooley reacquired The Abbey in late 2015 from SBE Entertainment Group and then acquired the bar next door in early 2016 to create The Chapel. Later in 2016, Cooley announced a partnership to bring Bottega Louie to West Hollywood in a nearby space. In May, Cooley celebrated the 25th anniversary of The Abbey with a series of events and promotions. Cooley and The Abbey filmed a reality series for E!, which takes an inside look at the lives of the employees at West Hollywood’s famous gay hotspot and is expected to air in 2017.
This month, The Abbey won L.A. Weekly’s Reader’s Choice Award for Best Gay Bar for the fifth year in a row. The LA Weekly’s Reader’s Choice Award joins a long list of awards, including Logo/MTV’s Best Gay Bar in the World, Zagat’s Most Popular Nightlife Destination in Los Angeles, Time Out’s Best Gay Bar in Los Angeles, Foursquare’s Most Popular Bar in California and the most popular drop-off/pickup points for both Uber and Lyft in the United States.
More photos of the Chapel are on the pages that follow: