Gold Coast, WeHo’s Iconic ‘Dive Bar,’ Is the Fourth Gay Bar to Close on Santa Monica Blvd.

Gold Coast on the southeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and North La Jolla.

Gold Coast, one of gay West Hollywood’s most popular bars, is closing. Bryan Worl, co-owner of the bar, confirmed the closing in a post on Facebook today. “

“This is heart breaking for all and especially the employees of the GC who I wouldn’t trade for the world,” Worl wrote. “They were so loyal and worked so hard. I can’t even start with the customers right now and what unconditional love you gave to this little neighborhood dive bar.”

Bob Hastings opened Gold Coast in 1981. Over the years, the bar, which sits on the southeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and North La Jolla Avenue, became popular for its down-to-earth, neighborhood vibe and inexpensive drinks. It became what is known as a “dive bar,” a term that has evolved to describe a bar known for its welcoming atmosphere and lack of pretension.

Worl, who has been Hastings’ partner in the enterprise for 26 years, said that beginning Saturday they would begin cleaning it out, with the front door and the back door open. “If you want to stop by and say hi or come in for a quick pic or last goodbye…I feel a lot of people would like that … just make sure you have a mask..with the luck we are having the health dept will stop in…A lot of people called the GC home, and we just want everyone to have a chance to say goodbye,” he said.

Monte Overstreet at Starbucks, Feb. 25, 2018

Gold Coast is the fourth popular gay bar on Santa Monica Boulevard to close since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It, Rage, and Flaming Saddles, are all owned by Monte Overstreet, a gay man some call the “king of Boystown” in reference to his real estate holdings. The other popular bar that closed is Gym Bar, located at 8737 Santa Monica Blvd., whose landlord is Elias Shokrian of Beverly Hills.

In his Facebook post, Worl said of the closing: “We do not have a choice … We have fought and tried everything in our power to keep this bar and dealing with pressure from very very selfish and heartless people. “

Worl also complained about people spreading the news of the closing before he and Hastings, who lives in Palm Springs, could let Gold Coast employees know. Gold Coast is one of the few bars in West Hollywood whose staff has been on the job for a long time. One of its most popular D.J.’s, Jeff Spain, has been performing there for 32 years.

Gold Coast also is known for its annual Red Dress Party. That started with a vow many years ago between two Gold Coast bartenders, Mark Ferguson and Yves-Claude, who both were HIV positive and, given the lack of effective treatment at the time, were in and out of the hospital. Their grim and yet humorous pact was that when one of them died, the other would show up at the memorial service in a red dress.

When Mark Ferguson died from HIV-related complications in 1997, Yves-Claude happened to be out of town. But, not one to renege on his promises, Yves-Claude decided to take it to a higher level. He decided to celebrate his friend and co-worker’s life with a party at Gold Coast at which everyone was invited to wear a red dress.

Gold coast, red dress party
Photographer Paul Hamel and Gold Coast owner Bob Hastings at the Red Dress Party.

The Red Dress Party has been held at Gold Coast every July for since then, which some of its proceeds going to a gay-related charity.Paul Hamelhas chronicled the event in his book “Drag Queen for a Day.” The book,which can be purchased online, contains photos of the event that were taken by Hamel from 2003 to 2013.

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WeHo Mike
WeHo Mike
2 months ago

Shame on Monte Overstreet. Obviously he isn’t being flexible with the owners of these bars, and its a shame that his personal decisions will have such a deep impact on the physical gay culture of West Hollywood for years to come.I don’t know why he would rather kick out all these legacy businesses and have the spaces remain empty than work out a deal with them so they could stay in place. You know those spaces will not be re-rented in during the pandemic so they will just remain empty for months. Two of the businesses he is responsible for… Read more »

jay
jay
2 months ago
Reply to  WeHo Mike

Amen.

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
2 months ago

I am a liberal Democrat, but so are many of the landlords of small businesses and small 8 to 10 unit apartment buildings. This IS WHAT THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ANNUALLY DERIVED FOR THE CITY BUDGET AND WASTED ON OUTRAGEOUSLY EXPENSIVE PROJECTS LIKE THE $30 MILLION DOLLAR PLUS, ROBO PARKING GARAGE. The City could have save or at least change its priorities 1. Ensure small business who by law are closed to save human lives have the ability to help the business & landlord for a WORLD WIDE DEADLY PANDEMIC. 2. DO THE SAME FOR RENTERS AND SMALL APARTMENT OWNERS.… Read more »

SERGE K.
SERGE K.
2 months ago

NOO! My Favorite bar in Weho especially when you wanted to play darts and pool! I feel terrible for the employees and the owners. I hope the city steps in to protect the smaller businesses that are taking the biggest hit.

John Johnstonjohnson
2 months ago
Reply to  SERGE K.

Please, it was trashy. I’m hoping that WeHo has more classy establishments like Pump replace these run-down relics where problematic gay sex pests like to hang out. If one good thing comes out of COVID, its slum clearance of this sort of trash.

Ian
Ian
2 months ago

Monty Overstreet is a landlord, NOT a welfare agency. He has NEVER to the best of my knowledge been outrageously greedy, for christ sakes the man has been a customer at those bars since the 1980s.
Blaming Monty is misguided and simply wrong.

greeneyedboy
greeneyedboy
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Monte*

And yes he is a landlord, a bad landlord. These locations will stay empty for a very long time. But at least he can go to sleep knowing he didn’t make any rent negotiations with legacy businesses that were forced to close. Greed indeed.

John Johnstonjohnson
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian

That’s right! Plus we appreciate his donations!

People like Monty Overstreet–big developers and landlords are the ones on whose Galtian shoulders our city’s future is built!

The Johns are the political fountainhead of the city’s progressive liberal vision!

Join our Johnsian movement, brother!

https://twitter.com/Johns4WeHo

cody warlock
cody warlock
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian

yes Monte has been a customer at those bars but they never make him pay for his drinks. He is a major tightwad.

Ian
Ian
2 months ago

West Hollywood’s house is burning down while the city council has its nose and personal opinions everywhere, except West Hollywood!!!!!!

Vincent Campisi
Vincent Campisi
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Amen

:dpb
:dpb
2 months ago

… and the city council is making declarations on indigenous peoples and Iran this week. Might I suggest this bunch of fools address the commercial blight, unemployment and rent forgiveness right here in the city that they represent? West Hollywood is in crisis. City Council pay attention and get to work.

hifi5000
hifi5000
2 months ago

I see some comments on this article stating that bar culture is over and that bars should go away.I disagree,as I feel our society is becoming more regressive.This is a reversal from the heady time of the 1990s and 2000s where society was somewhat progressive and gays made a lot of progress.

With this reversal,guys will be looking for safe places to gather and the bars are the places for them.I am betting the smaller places like Gold Coast will return very swiftly after this pandemic quiets down.

MrM
MrM
2 months ago

Can we as a gay community move past our bar culture?

I understand the role gay bars played in our history, and I too have nostalgia for the days when gay bars were our only safe space to meet, mingle, and be ourselves.

But society has changed quite a bit since the 80s and 90s, and holding on to a bar culture that only encourages alcoholism seems like a step backwards.

:dpb
:dpb
2 months ago
Reply to  MrM

This is not just about bars and gay culture, this is about long time businesses closing, his is about unemployment for long time employees, this is about landlords that are fazing out long time tenants in order to hike the rent that’s already astronomical. This is about a city that is beginning to experience blight and long time residents being pushed out. And ya, it’s about a gathering spot for friends and common ground. As Weho has gentrified and been handed over to developers who have ripped apart this city bit by bit, we lost a lot of what brought… Read more »

greeneyedboy
greeneyedboy
2 months ago
Reply to  MrM

I’m curious as to what other businesses you think will fill all these vacancies? Are you a fan of even more weed dispensaries?

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
2 months ago

Flaming Saddles, Rage, and Gold Coast….all very different venues in varying stages of their successes, all point to one common reason for their inability to continue…..their building owner, Monte Overstreet. I’ve never met the man but have heard for years from multiple sources he’s a greedy a-hole. Is this true? Is there anyone who knows him that might offer a different side of him? If he is the greedy a-hole that has been described and that greed is directly affecting our community, instead of scapegoating our City Council, what should we as a community do to make it clear to… Read more »

Larry Block
Larry Block
2 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Josh, I’m disappointed by your post. You work for the city councilman in LA and support all the politicians in this race and non of the non-politicians. Your scapegoating a person, — or persons..you left out GymBar. And while your pointing fingers at the person who is picking up the bill while government and the council could not do a worse job! Monte used be my landlord in 1985 where the Bayou and when I wanted out of the lease he let me go. But Ive been very critical of him since the beginning because at the outset I knew… Read more »

Jeffery Aubel
Jeffery Aubel
2 months ago
Reply to  Larry Block

🤣 a vote for Larry Block is like a vote for Kanye West, a waste of a good vote.

Vincent Campisi
Vincent Campisi
2 months ago
Reply to  Jeffery Aubel

🤣😆😂

Conrad
Conrad
2 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

The tenants are bound by the lease agreement. There are laws in effect which protect commercial tenants affected by the government shutdown. These tenants chose not to continue in wait and have to repay the back-rent at a later date as permitted by law. Now, what has Mr. Overstreet done wrong? Refuse to waive the back-rent? How is Mr. Overstreet supposed to change? Is he supposed to carry his residential and commercial properties? You are out of line Mr. Kurpies. Do not attempt to create animosity against 73 year old man who is only guilty of investing in West Hollywood… Read more »

greeneyedboy
greeneyedboy
2 months ago
Reply to  Conrad

@Conrad

Several of these tenants have publicly spoken out on how Monte Overstreet has been EXTREMELY difficult during this whole pandemic. Where there is smoke there is a fire.

Also, why has Mr. Overstreet refused to make a public comment? Per Wehoville, he continues to stay silent on these closings.

:dpb
:dpb
2 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Monte Overstreet is empowered by the city council. The council likes new and shiny and permits and inspections which allows them to line their pockets. A longtime business does not benefit the council’s
pocketbooks.

Erik Jon Schmidt
Erik Jon Schmidt
2 months ago

This news is particularly sad for me. The Gold Coast was the first Gay bar I went to when I moved to LA in 1997. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I moved to West Hollywood. I was living in Las Vegas, but had clients who had homes in LA so I was going back and forth. I wanted to get a place in LA, but I wasn’t sure. I had a room at the Holloway motel for six weeks while I looked around. I walked to the Gold Coast every afternoon for happy hour while I was in… Read more »

Sammy Wammy
Sammy Wammy
2 months ago

the city doesn’t care all they care about are developers, fees, bribes etc. it’s all about condo’s, hotels, and anything that will bring jn money…ridiculous. now what little left of the gay in weho will be gone forever….but we always have our memories

Ragan
2 months ago

This is the biggest hit yet. Gold Coast is a WeHo institution and, for years, has provided a safe space to WeHo’s graying population. The city should intervene on this one. FOUR bars down. How many more will close before a vaccine? This one stings. Why isn’t the city doing anything to protect these establishments, which are LIFEBLOOD of the community!?!