A ‘Place to Worship’ in WeHo’s Boystown, The Chapel Finally Opens

The dance floor at The Chapel at The Abbey, filled for a pre-opening event.
The dance floor at The Chapel at The Abbey, filled for a pre-opening event. (Photos courtesy of The Chapel/The Abbey)

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 patio at The Chapel at dusk (Photos The Abbey/The Chapel.)
The patio at The Chapel at dusk (Photos The Abbey/The Chapel.)

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:

  1. I thought I would be reading comments on The Chapel, not competing diatribes on the Presidential election. Now back to the subject…

    The space looks nice if you like faux Mediterranean architecture. And a steeple? What is David Cooley’s fixation on Christian symbolism? The Abbey is an over-priced hetero/homo club. It lost it’s gay identity a long time ago, even though we still go there. What it has which sets it apart from others is the patio. And what’s with all the straight dancers? I’m happy for Mr. Cooley that he’s become a multi-millionaire from the gay community, but really….

  2. DK, you so good at parroting the Democratic Play Book. Are you one of the authors? A typical attack against me accusing me of watching FOX NEWS (correct spelling) and Rush Limbaugh. I don’t watch FOX News, it’s boring and my first and lasting opinion of Rush is he was/is a comedian not to be taken seriously. But now what about you and the rest of the liberals worshiping those on MSNBC. All one has to do is watch one show and they have seen MSNBC’s full 24 hour coverage of what ever event they are so called reporting. Same story, same guests on every show. And I have to admit I watch it sometimes to stay informed.

    You attack every Republican but are unable to defend the left when it was the Republicans that were successful in having that anti Gay & Lesbian law ruled unconstitutional. And a little civics lesson, the Joint Chiefs of Staff can not make policy, they can only suggest changes to them. Gays & Lesbians were serving openly, I was there. They were in all ranks. One of the officers in my basic training company was having a “OPEN AFFAIR” with one of my fellow trainees.

    Donald Trump has been ACCUSED of groping women, Bill admitted it plus more. Bill Clinton was convicted of a felony and has been disbarred, Hillary allowed and perhaps condoned such behavior. Donald Trump is a successful businessman who has admitted not paying what others consider his fair share but states it’s because he like every other successful businessman takes full advantage of the faulty tax code. And during this past session of congress the Democrats voted against a Republican measure to study and clean up the tax code.

    There are people in both parties that hate gays. There are countries that not only hate gays but executes them even if they are children. And Hillary has accepted monies from these countries for her so called great foundation. And when Donald Trump challenged her during the last debate to return those millions she refused. That re-enforces my belief that she may say she supports the gay community, she has no problem accepting monies ( bribes) from those who don’t.

    You can go on and on with your rhetoric about how bad Republicans are and how great the Democratic Party is but in the end which party throughout history has been anti gay, raciest, and attack certain religions other than just Muslims. The Democrats fought Lincoln over slavery. FDR threw loyal Americans in concentration camps and seized all their assets. The Democratic Party tried to stop JFK from being nominated because he was Catholic. Bill Clinton signed into law DADT causing a INCREASE in the number of Gays & Lesbians to be discharged due to their sexual orientation. Discharges went DOWN while George Bush was president and went UP when Obama took office. And it was the Obama Administration that filed a APPEAL when DADT was declared unconstitutional. A decision that came after a Republican organization challenged DADT in federal court.

    At this time in our history security and a regrowth of our economy are number one in my opinion. We have to secure our borders. Perhaps a wall would not be built if Trump is elected but border security would be improved. The current policy is catch and release. Those caught are given a court date months after they have entered illegally yet are allowed to stay free to roam the U.S. as they please.. It’s not just latinos entering from Mexico but middle eastern, asians, etc. How many are terrorists. Are you willing to take the chance with open borders, I’m not?

    And big government programs will not improve our economy. The private sector is where real long duration jobs will be found. And special deals with big contributors must cease. They say the Keystone XL pipeline is unsafe. Besides the fact it would create thousands of good paying jobs the alternative we have today is the same oil is currently being transported by two railroads. Both are owned by Warren Buffet a big Democratic contributor. And railroads have been deemed not as safe as a pipeline.

    I could go on and on but my final thought concerns the banking industry. Both Hillary and Bill have been in the pocket of the banking industry. Bernie Sanders also pointed this out during the primaries. It was Bill Clinton who signed into law legislation that de-regulated the banking industry. We saw the results of that fiasco. The current legislation is no where as strong as the Glass-Sagal Act that was repealed. Do we really want to see banking regulations weakened any further. Hillary has accepted millions if not billions from this one industry. And lets be honest, political contributions are nothing but bribes. The banking industry expects something for their big investment and Warren Buffet is reaping his with his railroads.

  3. DK, all your excuses will only insure another terrorist attack is imminent and then you and your fellow brain washed liberals will be making excuses as we have seen from both the Clinton’s and that clown in the white house Obama. The worst attack since Pearl Harbor, 9/11 took place because Bill Clinton failed to not act on the intelligence concerning the terrorists but in addition failed to pass that information on to President George Bush until after the attack. Obama has allowed terrorists to enter our country like the female in San Bernardino who’s only background check consisted of a thumb print.

    Richard Nixon was President while I was in the military. Gays and Lesbians were serving openly. Our company clerk made Jack on “Will & Grace” look like a truck driver. There was not a question in anyones mind that he was gay the minute he opened his mouth and addressed us. The career re-enlistment NCO was after my ass everyday without success.

    You are a typical gay person who relies on what they read instead of experiencing the realities of life. I have experienced far more discrimination for being a vet than for being gay. And that was at the hands of liberals such as yourself. The liberal community will screw you with a smile on their faces and make excuses why they did it.

    Donald Trump may not be the nicest guy but nice guys don’t get things done. General George Patton was not a nice guy but when they wanted results they called upon him. The same can be said for General Douglas Mac Arthur. But Donald Trump has not endangered our nations security. It’s been proven Hillary did on numerous occasions. Stating Putin is a stronger president is a fact the Democrats hate to admit. Obama is scared of him and is afraid to stand up to him. I want a strong president, not one that fails to take action short of putting boots on the ground. Hillary is supporting Obama’s policy of putting boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria. We have no business being in those two countries plus Afghanistan. If those countries want to kill one another so be it. I don’t want other countries attempting to dictate how we run the U.S. and we should not be attempting to do it to them no matter how much we disagree with their customs and traditions. We should be pro business not anti. We should be pro U.S. trade policies not policies that favor our trading partners. We should have secure borders, not ones that allow terrorists to enter illegally as has been reported. The majority of countries in Europe are re-evaluating their policies allow refugees from the Middle East after the numerous terrorists attacks. Unless you advocate the U.S. should share in the number of terrorists attacks we have seen, you would not be supportive of open borders. Do we need another 9/11 to gain your support?

    1. Mike Dunn, it is a flat out lie that Hillary wants boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria. No matter how many times you repeat that lie, it is still a lie. Republicans have criticized Obama for not sending troops into Syria, and it is Trump who is calling for boots on the ground there. Hillary has called for a no-fly zone, not troops on the ground. Stop lying.

      If you don’t want other coutnries dictating how we run the US, why are you supporting Trump — who is a puppet for anti-American, anti-Europe terrorist Putin, who is meddling in our democracy? If you want secure borders, why are you supporting a phony candidate who hired illegal immigrants and whose incoherent, childish border security plan consists of a stupid wall that will never be built? If you want better trade deals, why are you supporting a candidate who outsourced jobs? If you’re concerned about terrorism, why are you supporting a candidate who makes it harder to work with Muslim allies needed to stop terror and whose rhetoric recruits for ISIS? Trump’s trade policies are a total joke that will only cause trade wars, causing prices to skyrocket and crashing the economy. Everything Trump says is half-baked nonsense, mostly because he is an opportunist and pandering liar pretending to care about American workers when he does not?

      You are a dishonest self-loathing house gay who listens to Faux News and Rush Limbaugh propaganda while licking the boots of your homophphobic right wing masters and living in an alternate reality of total lies.The fact is in 2016, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party platform supports the full equality of gays. Donald Trump is opposed to gay equality, and the Republican Party has adopted the most anti-gay platform in political history. No matter how much you try to change the subject, those are facts. No self-respecting gay man can logically support a homophobic candidate like Trump and a homophobic party that seeks to deny gays freedom and equality.

      9/11 took placed because Republicans and George W. Bush took the eye off the ball and ignored a memo titled “Bin Laden determined to attack in the United States.” 9/11 did not take place when Clinton was President, and Republicans criticized Clinton for his focus on preventing an attack by bin Laden. Republican negligence after Clinton left office caused 9/11, and Trump’s divisive anti-Muslim rhetoric would cause another 9/11 by recruiting for ISIS and making it harder for the US to work with the Muslim allies who helped the Obama administration catch and kill bin Laden, something Republicans failed to do. The worst terrorist attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor occurred on Republcians’ watch.

      When Bill Clinton took office, the Joint Chiefs was about to ban gays from serving in the military. DADT prevented that ban from taking place. It was a progressive compromise. If it were left up to Republicans a full ban would have occurred.

      Republicans are racist, sexist homophobies who only care about cutting taxes for the rich — they don’t give a rat’s behind about veterans. Republicans have refused to fully fund veterans health care, and they nominated Trump, a candidate who calls our military “a disaster” and who makes fun of POWs. Every minority group in America has experienced discrimination at the hands of conservative Republicans — that’s why every minority group including gays, blacks, women, and Latinos are overwhemingly opposed to conservative bigots and their nutty, sexual predator nominee Trump.

      Mussolini wasn’t a nice guy either — we don’t need an American Mussolini. All Donald Trump has ever gotten done is bankrupting companies, outsourcing jobs, scamming people with a fake university, not paying his fair share of taxes, ripping off small business contractors, getting sued by the Justice Dept for his racist housing policies, hiring illegal immigrants over Americans, colluding with anti-American homophobic tyrant Putin, running a sham foundation, groping women without their permission, and tweeting neo-Nazi propaganda. He hasn’t accomplished a single good thing for anyone but his narcissistic self. And he will lose bigly because the American people see him for the mentally ill, whiny, unfit, liar and con artist he is. Trump represents a political party with a disgusting bigoted and backwards conservatives platform offering nothing to Americans but inequality, bigotry, and failed Bush tax giveaways to billionaires like Trump. No thanks.

  4. As to the subject of the article (LOL) the new venue is beautifully realized. Cooley and the design team should be applauded for making use of the space far better than Here Lounge and its “bar in the middle of the room” design fiasco.

    But there’s a lot to miss about Here Lounge. A whole lot. One, it was one of the few bars where you could here regular Top 40 dance music — as opposed to constant, thumping, dying-giraffe-noises EDM. Not all gays are constantly rolling on E, but increasingly DJs here seem to think so.

    Two, I preferred Here Lounge’s bright neon lighting. Yes, a bit cheesy, so I see why many prefer the Abbey aesthetic. I just like to be able to actually see who I’m talking to. Chapel is gorgeous but a bit dark.

    Three, and most importantly, Here just had a chill, upbeat, locals-mostly vibe, and a vibe cannot be replicated or replaced. Let’s face it: the Abbey is at this point more a straight-mixed bar with a gay theme than a gay bar. Which is cool. As Cooley has said, that’s a brilliant business decision that is making all involved lots of money. The Abbey reputation with tourists means they will likely overrun Chapel too. Here was one of the last local bars with a Cheers-like “where everybody knows your name” vibe without being seedy, dark, divey, or rave-like. You could go there on the weekends and know you would be among friends. Assimilation and acceptance is awesome, but going out in the gayborhood on weekends feels so bridge and tunnel now that many locals now go to house parties or underground events elsewhere instead.

    It was nice to still have a place of our own right here in WeHo, but all things must change though. It was great while it lasted. Godspeed, Here Lounge, long live the Chapel!

  5. Mike Dunn, and still no matter how much you try to change the subject, right now in 2016 Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party platform supports the full equality of gay Americans. Donald Trump does not, and the Republican Party just adopted the most anti-gay platform in the history of partisan politics. And none of your deranged ranting and raving can change that fact.

    Bill Clinton is not running for President, so his views twenty years ago are not relevant — nevermind that DADT was in its day a progressive compromise in opposition to the Republicans’ preferred full ban on gays in the military, and that DOMA was a compromise that prevented Republicans from enacting a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. If it were up to Republicans, you would have been kicked out the military whether you told or not. So trying to blame Bill Clinton for standing the gap is laughable.

    Donald Trump was not against the war in Iraq, he supported it. The lie that he opposed the Iraq War has been debunked a million times by fact-checkers. And it is Trump — not Hillary — who is pledging to put more American troops on the ground in the Middle East as President. Hillary has called for a no fly zone, not boots on the ground — you’re lying.

    Trump is already endangering national security through 1) his campaign’s treasonous collusion with anti-American, anti-gay Russian tyrant Putin, and 2) his dangerous anti-Muslim rhetoric which is being used by ISIS recruiters to fuel their holy war.

    Donald Trump does business in the same countries that the Clinton Foundation does; the difference is the Clinton Foundation is taking donations from progressives in those countries to help aid people worldwide, which greedy con artist and pathological liar Trump does business with terrorist and ISIS-supporting countries to line his own pockets.

    Trump is a hypocrite, and he doesn’t have the gravitas to challenge Hillary to anything. He should challenge himself to stop being a bigot, stop groping women without their permission, stop being a corrupt tax cheat and bankruptcy bailout welfare queen, and stop his Trump U racketeering scam, and stop ripping off contractors. Trump is quoted in 2013 as saying we need to get rid of borders, and unlike Hillary he actually outsourced jobs and hired illegal immigrants over Americans. Now he runs around pretending to care about borders — please! He will lose because he is a liar, a coward, and a draft-dodging phony, and sane Americans can see right through him.

  6. I love the new space. As much as Cooley gets bashed in some circles for his efforts, this is a dedicated party space that was well designed. The Here was a stand around pretentious bore of a bar which had a half-hearted dance area that was not a dance area on the way to the restrooms. A great improvement!

  7. DK, your delusional beliefs the Democrats are pro gays is only that. It was Bill Clinton who brought us DADT and DOMA. It was aRepublican Organization that filed suit that resulted in DADT to be ruled unconstitutional and it was the Obama Administration that challenged the court ruling which resulted in gays and lesbians having to incur a mother year of discrimination. I’m a Viet Nam Veteran. there were gay enlisted men, career NCO’s and officers. Discharges went up after DADT. They went down while George Bush was President only to increase when Obama became president. Hillary is the past has made some very abusive remarks concerning gays and lesbians. Donald Trump was against the war in Iraq, Hillary voted for it. Donald Trump is not in favor of putting boots on the ground, Hillary has supported Obama doing just that. We saw one serviceman killed this past week in Iraq performing a so called non combative role. Obama calls them advisors, that’s what LBJ called them when he escalated the war in Viet Nam. Yes, Donald Trump is not the nicest guy in the United States but at least he has not endangered our nations security. And the so called wonderful Clinton Foundation receives contributions for favors from countries and individuals that support ISIS and other terrorist organizations. Donald Trump challenged Hillary to give back the monies and she refused during the last debate. Hillary will probably win the election but I also will not be surprised if our nation is attacked again due to her open borders policies. And remember the 9/11 attackers entered and trained in the United States during her husbands time in office.

  8. You guys act like Here was a dead club. It was a lot of fun on Sundays, that is for sure, and I doubt the Chapel will have the same vibe. Plus you will pay a lot more to imbibe. But sure, it looks nice, and the gays will flock to it, because it is new.

  9. I, for one, want to say how much I like the new venue. And I want to thank D. Cooley for his work to bring it to the community.

  10. The argument being made my Mike Dunn and JKR is ludicrous. Bottom line is Hillary Clinton supports the full equality of American gays — Donald Trump and the Republicans do not, and no amount of deflection can change that fact. More gay in America have been hurt, harmed, killed, and bullied to death by American conservatives than have been killed by terrorists. Republicans still pose a bigger threat to gays than immigrants. If Trump supporters are truly concerned about open borders and terrorism, maybe they should stop supporting the phony liar Trump who hired undocumented workers over Americans and whose divisive, ugly rhetoric and plan to put boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria is a recruiting tool for ISIS.

    The Clinton Foundation rightly takes money from progressive-minded people the world over, as they should. Should the Clintons refuse money from all Americans because America is a country whose police force kills blacks. What a lame argument. Any good person in any country who donates to a good cause should be applauded. And by the way, Trump does business in and with the same countries. Unlike the Clintons, he is doing it to line his own greedy pockets.

  11. This article was about a new nightclub and not an opportunity for all the nut cases to come out and bash Hillary. Anyone trying to come up with an excuse to put Hillary on the same plain as Trump is delusional.

  12. Trump is not a traitor as Hillary has proved to be. I Prey that one of our night clubs isn’t attacked by terrorist as the one in Orlando was. You have a choice, vote for open borders or closed borders with a big fence. Which equals letting terrorists in or attempting to keep them out.

  13. JKR and Mike Dunn: Then by all means those positions warrant casting your votes for Donald Trump, because lord knows, he was only groping women and BK-ing on lenders and small time contractors here in the States.

  14. Hillary Clinton fundraiser? Please. She takes money from Saudi Arabia where they kill gays. WIKILEAKS people. Learn what’s going on the the mainstream media is not reporting. Wake up!

  15. I went this weekend and David Cooley did an exceptional job transforming the space. West Hollywood needs a new, dedicated dance club – I wish him well!

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