Located in the heart of West Hollywood and known as one of the most iconic gay bars of all time is The Abbey. Although marketed mainly to the LGBT population (and to some debate its primary clientele as it has become very straight as well) The Abbey over the years has grown from what was once a neighborhood gay coffee shop to major dining and drinking establishment that everyone that is anyone in Los Angeles has been.
The Abbey was originally envisioned as primarily a gay bar, and, to this day it continues to fulfill that purpose. However on Friday and Saturday nights the club goes off with lines down Robertson Blvd to get in (the line is never more than five minutes as many who go in just want a look and leave-therefore always turnover). Against a Medieval theme (the actual building housing the bar looks like a castle dating back 500 years) There are over 4 main bars, dozens of ripped bar tenders, go go dancers (almost always bare chested men) and DJ’s spinning the latest pop songs against their own creative eclectic beats.
The Abbey is most famous for its martinis. Offering and abundance of choices from fruit to chocolate flavors, these cocktails have a reputation for being strong, a little pricey (over $12) , very sweet and have been known to really deliver a punch (a good or bad thing depending on what your looking for).
More than a bar:
When the Abbey isn’t a loud, crowded dance hall it serves as a daytime restaurant offering a variety of menu items from salads to hamburgers to wings. Its main forte has been its bakery with an abundance of sweet treats such as giant red velvet cupcakes and whole chocolate cheesecakes in a display case that tempt every kind of sweet tooth. Clientele during this time of day are usually LA locals, most from the LGBT community. At sundown is when the venue transforms
To the Los Angeles locals there is a lot of controversy concerning the Abbey. Once seen as a local neighborhood gay bar it was bought by the SBE group and transformed into a major entertainment venue. On weekend nights there is still a large gay population but many of the gay LA locales have fled to other nearby clubs instead. Most are visitors, many from the Inland Empire area of Los Angeles as well as a large straight population that enjoy the care free and open atmosphere that feels chic LA but doesn’t involve the exclusivity of having to be on a list.
In recent years The Abbey has also become a celebrity hangout as many come to see and be scene. You are guaranteed a least a D list reality show sighting on any given weekend night however the likes of Britney Spears, Christine Aguilera and Elizabeth Taylor (before her passing) have been regulars.
Those looking for a hot crowd and the stereotypical “LA club experience” without having to get listed elsewhere or know someone should definitely check The Abbey out.