The Closing of Rage — the Latest Blow to West Hollywood’s Boystown Nightlife District

gay bar, west hollywood gay bar, rage restaurant and bar

The latest blow to West Hollywood’s Boystown gay nightlife district is the closing of Rage, the gay bar at the northwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente.

Ron Madril, the manager of Rage, confirmed the closing. Rage was opened in 1983 by Robert Maghame and Saeed Sattari in a building at 8911 Santa Monica Blvd. owned by Monte Overstreet. Their lease is said to have been set to expire in November, but Maghame and Sattari were unable to negotiate a renewal with Overstreet. Jacqui Squatriglia and Chris Barnes, owner of Flaming Saddles, the gay Country / Western bar at 8811 Santa Monica Boulevard at Larrabee, announced its closing on Aug. 16 after they were unable to reach an agreement with Overstreet because of unpaid rent.

Like other bar owners, Squatrigilia and Barnes and Maghame and Sattari have struggled to deal with the financial impact of the temporary closing of bars because of COVID-19.  Los Angeles County health officials ordered the closing of all bars on March 16 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an order on June 18 allowing bars to reopen so long as they followed certain safety rules. But then 10 days later he shut them down again after COVID-19 infections surged.

Gym Bar, another popular gay bar, located at 8737 Santa Monica Blvd., announced its permanent closing in July, with its owners saying that the property owner, Elias Shokrian of Calitex LLC in Beverly Hill, had been uncooperative in negotiating a way for them to pay their rent.

Rage’s popularity has waxed and waned over the years.  In 2014, Michel Thomas, who had worked as a promoter of events at Rage for 11 years, bought the business from Maghame and Sattari, making him the first gay man to own the gay bar.  Thomas had launched events such as GAMeboi, which catered to gay Asian men, and Rage also hosted special nights for other ethnic groups.  Thomas boasted that his acquisition meant that Rage would be gay-owned and -operated. ” “I have a problem with a straight establishment trying to make money off of gay people,” he said in an interview with WEHOville.

But Overstreet objected to the sale of the business to Thomas, pointing out that the lease on the property required Maghame and Sattari to get his approval before selling the business that occupied it. Thomas was forced out.

Overstreet has a reputation for being a tough negotiator. Squatriglia, in an announcement of the decision to close Flaming Saddles, said she “thought I worked out deals, and we were watching the science carefully as well as city and state regulations. We wanted to make sure it was as safe as possible before we attempted to re-open our doors. Overstreet declined to comment to WEHOville.

Overstreet has many real estate holdings in West Hollywood, including the real estate at 8220 Santa Monica Blvd., home to the Out of the Closet thrift store and the Gold Coast bar on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and North La Jolla Avenue; 8246 Santa Monica Blvd., the location of La Jolla Jewelry; 8525 Santa Monica Blvd., where the Healthy Spot pet grooming business is located; 8861 Santa Monica Blvd., the location of the Chi Chi LaRue’s gay adult products business; 8869 Santa Monica Blvd., home to Z Pizza; 8917 Santa Monica Blvd., home to the now-closed Halal Brothers, 9085 Santa Monica Blvd., the location of the Beverly Hills Karate Academy, and the parking lot at 814 Larrabee St.

4.5 6 votes
Article Rating

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

55 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tim
Tim
1 day ago

Rage didn’t get much video from Halloween Carnival last year, and not much the year before. I don’t know about food being the thing and know that 1983 being that the nightclub opening, didn’t know about and heatlamps being the thing in the 2000’s, is what I think made the nightclub better. I think from 90’s until now attendance has been pretty achievable. I would like there to be more events to be posted to keep me informed.

Rene Napoli
1 day ago

The memories are FANTASTIC.

Erna
Erna
6 days ago

We sort of missed that scene since were spending all our time then with generou$ gentlemen!

Informed
Informed
8 days ago

Just to give you an idea, the rent for Rage is in the neighborhood of $55,000 per month, with the tenet having to pay the Property Taxes, Insurance and all maintenance and upgrades. $55,000 per month! Flaming Saddles rent is in the neighborhood of $40,000 per month, with the same terms. $40,000 per month! Monte Overstreet, is feeling excited since he thinks he can raise the rents even higher. Let those numbers sink in, and think what these business have to do to generate that kind of revenue, just to pay the rent. Also, let that sink in when you… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
7 days ago
Reply to  Informed

A $10 million loan equals $60K/month. It’s simple math.

Horatio
Horatio
7 days ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Would love to know the math behind this comment and in general who is taking out said loan? If the interest rate was 0% it would take almost 14 years to pay off a $10 million dollar loan if the monthly payment was $60K/month. This is why I can’t take your comments seriously. Lots of complaining about Weho and complaining about the bar scene and making grand assumptions about residents of Weho but no actual substance or solutions to any of the issues. As a Weho resident of almost a decade, I am sad to see these bars go and… Read more »

MARK
MARK
4 days ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

they have owned these buildings outright for decades. they did not pay 10 million for either building. its public knowledge that the families that own 80% of Santa Monica blvd including these buildings have been owned free and clear for generations. literally decades and decades. For them not to give an iconic bar like Rage rent relieve and for the others as well is a real travesty. not to mention I would like to see how much in PPP loans this company received. Probably millions. And they probably asked the state for assistance for rent not paid by tenants as… Read more »

Bghgb
Bghgb
8 days ago

Sounds like a monopoly of ownership throughout WEHO..

hifi5000
hifi5000
8 days ago

Rage has seen better days,such as the times I went there in the 1990s.It had the good vibes while it lasted,so its time has come and gone.Perhaps a new guy will come along and reinvent the place.The dance floor is great,but it a waste during the day.The old Rage space needs a redo,maybe something similar to what the Abbey is currently. Look at Micky’s when the fire occurred and they closed for up to two years.They reopened with a whole new space and a new second floor for special events.They kept some of the old bartenders for the regulars but… Read more »

RobbyDobby
RobbyDobby
8 days ago

After the ugly incident between the owners of Rage and Overstreet (the building owner) and the legal theft of an individual’s money when he tried to purchase Rage, the place has fallen out of favor. I don’t approve of the idea of straight people owning gay business. These two have never given back to the gay community and Overstreet has a long history of anti-gay prejudice. I’m not sorry to see this particular bar go…

John
John
20 hours ago
Reply to  RobbyDobby

Monty is GAY! Has been gay since I have known him …1982.

Jeremy Weston
Jeremy Weston
9 days ago

If Rage would have kept that big red sign like in this article’s photo that attracted people as an exciting and happening place, they would have likely had a lot more business. The new little signage over the entrance was didn’t make anyone want to go in.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
8 days ago
Reply to  Jeremy Weston

yeah….it was the sign that did them in.

KJ Acton
KJ Acton
5 days ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Funny that you say you have lived in W. Hywood for quite some time and all you do is complain about the city EVERY day on this web site! So bizarrre

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
4 days ago
Reply to  KJ Acton

I only bought my house here because it’s close to work. Like many, we’d like to see the city change and become a respectable city.

SeeMe
SeeMe
3 days ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Please define “we” and “respectable”.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
9 days ago

Commercial landlords like Overstreet are the reason any City sponsored “assistance ” to retail and commercial tenants would be foolish unless it were tied to a 20% reduction in rent for at least 2 years. Without relief from outlandish rents assisting small business is simply another form of welfare to commercial landlords. Perhaps the City should explore a tax on excessive rents. West Hollywood flourished when we were the ugly step sister to Beverly Hills; our rents were low and we had all sorts of creative businesses along Santa Monica giving West Hollywood a unique character. The City has become… Read more »

Chris F
Chris F
6 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Or they can consider a vacancy tax on these landlords

Rjfro
Rjfro
4 days ago
Reply to  Chris F

Yes!!

Rjfro
Rjfro
4 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

So true ..

John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell
John Daniel Harrington-Tyrell
9 days ago

The City needs to put in place a tax for empty storefronts, the closed businesses will attract Crime and encourage more homeless to occupy these closed spaces frontage

Shawn
Shawn
9 days ago

It looks like the landlord is a bar serial killer. He won’t be satisfied until every one of his bars is closed.

It’s very strange that all his properties are going vacant. I wonder if he’s looking to sell.

Maybe the city will buy all his properties since they love to buy real estate

Jay
Jay
9 days ago

I would love to hear any of the WeHo City Council candidates respond to this sad news with what they think can and should be done to assist small businesses struggling with inflexible landlords (in addition to the current City offer of mediation, which I support). I write this as a patron who met my fiancé at Rage and had pleasant interactions with Saeed over the years. RIP RAGE. A vacancy tax is worth exploring as a motivator to get landlords to the table or to at least more expediently find a new tenant. I wonder if some of the… Read more »

55
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x