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:


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Wesley McDowell
Guest
Wesley McDowell

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….

mike dunn
Guest

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… Read more »

mike dunn
Guest

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… Read more »

DK
Guest

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… Read more »

DK
Guest

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… Read more »

DK
Guest

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… Read more »

C.R.
Guest
C.R.

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!

mike dunn
Guest

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… Read more »

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

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.

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

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.

DK
Guest

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… Read more »

Mike
Guest
Mike

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.

mike dunn
Guest

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.