November 16, 2023
Famed WeHo Gay Nightspot The Abbey Sold
Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 2 MIN.
Iconic WeHo gay nightclub The Abbey has been sold, but key staff aren't going anywhere, Eater reported.
"Opened in 1991, the cultural hub is arguably the country's most well-known gay bar and includes a restaurant, bakery, bar, and nightclub," the outlet detailed, before adding that "founder David Cooley is passing ownership to Tristan Schukraft, a businessman who got his start as a technology entrepreneur before shifting to hotels and nightlife. Schukraft owns the Tryst Beachfront Hotel in Puerto Rico and MISTR, a telemedicine provider for HIV-related healthcare needs."
"The transaction is expected to be finalized in the coming months when the venue's Alcoholic Beverage Control licenses are completely transferred, according to a spokesperson," the article continued. "The Abbey's existing management team will remain intact when Schukraft takes over, including longtime general manager Todd Barnes and assistant general manager Kiki Farahat."
Eater noted that the famed establishment has had its share of negative attention recently, "with accusations of staff misgendering trans patrons, as well as allegations of drugging, petty theft, and sexual assault."
As reported at the time, The Abbey went up for sale last July. Eater noted that decision to sell the iconic establishment sparked concerns "that the Abbey, if in the wrong hands, could transform West Hollywood into a less queer neighborhood."
"Nearly 40 percent of West Hollywood's residents identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender," the article said.
But WeHo residents might take heart from Schukraft's reassurances.
"I plan to respect and honor the Abbey's history while bringing new ideas that reflect our evolving LGBTQ+ community and my personal approach to hospitality," Eater quoted Schukraft as saying.
"We're not just maintaining a legacy business and an international landmark, we're adding to the future of LGBTQ+ nightlife."
Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.