West Hollywood’s iconic LGBTQ+ venues, The Abbey Food & Bar and The Chapel at The Abbey, are entering a new era under the ownership of tech and hotel entrepreneur Tristan Schukraft. The current owner and founder, David Cooley, expressed his pride in The Abbey’s legacy as a sanctuary and hub of activism for the LGBTQ+ community. Cooley reflected on the establishment’s role during pivotal moments, including the AIDS Crisis and the fight for Marriage Equality and Transgender Rights.
Schukraft’s Vision for the Future
Tristan Schukraft, recognized for his contributions to the LGBTQ+ community through telemedicine and hospitality, shared his enthusiasm for building upon The Abbey’s illustrious 33-year history. He plans to honor the venue’s past while infusing new ideas to reflect the evolving LGBTQ+ landscape and his unique approach to hospitality. Schukraft’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing the legacy of The Abbey as an international landmark and a cornerstone of LGBTQ+ nightlife is evident in his statement.
David Cooley’s Endorsement
Cooley praised Schukraft’s understanding of The Abbey’s significance to the community and his trust in Schukraft’s ability to steward the venue’s future. Recognizing Schukraft’s long-time patronage of The Abbey, Cooley expressed confidence in his commitment to the venue’s guests, community, and the legacy of great parties.
Expanding Beyond West Hollywood
Schukraft’s acquisition is part of a broader vision to invigorate the LGBTQ+ scene, as evidenced by his recent ventures in Puerto Rico, including the acquisition of The Trust boutique hotel and the revival of the LGBTQ+ nightclub Circo. His efforts aim to elevate these venues, providing enticing experiences for both visitors and locals.
The Evolution of LGBTQ+ Spaces
Reflecting on the evolution of LGBTQ+ bars, Cooley reminisced about a time when such venues were secretive and hidden. The Abbey, with its outdoor patio and visible presence, marked a radical shift in the landscape of gay bars, fostering openness and visibility.
Finalizing the Sale
Cooley and Schukraft anticipate the finalization of the sale in the coming months, marking a significant transition for these beloved West Hollywood establishments. The change in ownership promises to preserve and enhance the rich history of The Abbey and The Chapel while adapting to the changing needs and aspirations of the LGBTQ+ community.