Dear All -
Hard to beat this for great news! Our thanks go out to all who have helped out on
SAVE the BOOM!!! in order to make this possible. And a special thank you to mr. Steven Udvar-Hazy, the building owner for giving us a reprieve and allowing the landmark Boom Boom Room and Coast Inn in Laguna Beach to remain open for at least another year.
We will keep you posted as more announcements take place.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Boom Boom Room to bop for 1 more year
The Laguna Beach gay bar's owner and operators agree on a lease extension.
By LAYLAN CONNELLY
LAGUNA BEACH - The Boom Boom Room will continue to boom for another year.
The popular gay bar appeared to be doomed after the beachfront property was sold in April 2005. It will remain open for at least 12 months after Boom Boom Room operators agreed to a lease extension Monday with the new owner, said Patrick O'Loughlin, the former owner who still runs the bar.
Throughout town, a group called "Save the Boom" has been reaching out for signatures during a petition drive to urge the new owner to keep the bar along with the Coast Inn's 24-room hotel as gay-friendly establishments.
The Boom Boom Room's heyday was in the '80s, when the bar became nationally known as one of the few places where homosexual men could let loose, said bar veteran Marty Vert, a Laguna Beach resident who started coming here about two decades ago in his early 20s.
"It was horrible. You kept a secret. You didn't know who to talk to," he said. "When you came here, it was almost like a suit of armor was removed."
The bar in recent years has been mixed with a straight clientele, many of whom showed up Aug. 9 for the popular "Dreamgirls Revue," a female-impersonation show where a group of men dresses up as celebrities such as Cher, Bette Midler and Jessica Rabbit.
"This is the place you can come â€“ no matter if you're straight or gay â€“ you come here to have fun," said Michelle Landley, who counted herself among the straight clientele.
In a back room, the impersonators slathered on the thick eyeliner and shadow, while the crowd filled into the bar area. The male bartenders stripped off their shirts at about 9:30 p.m., and soon the place was packed.
As Dolly Scott, 48, started working the crowd his long blonde curly wig flowing nearly down to his red-and-black sparkling mini skirt the place was bustling with laughter.
"How many newcomers do we have here?" Hands shot up in the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. "Sacrifice the virgins!" he said, strutting around the stage in his silver high-heel shoes.
The bar is one of Adam Forrester's favorite places to come, but the 27-year-old knows that, "Business is business," and he respects the former owners' reasons for selling.
"If the gay community wants to thrive here, they'll find another place to call home," he said.
O'Loughlin, who bought the property with James Marchese in 2000, said he was "pleased and honored" to continue running the Boom Boom Room. The two sold the property in 2005 to a group of investors, which in turn sold it to Steven Udvar-Hazy. Udvar-Hazy could not be reached for comment.
O'Loughlin received rights to the "Boom Boom Room" name and is searching for other locations in Southern California to start a new bar with a similar atmosphere after it closes next year.
"A lot of people might be upset it's closing," said Vert, a longtime friend of O'Loughlin. "I see it as an opportunity for a new era for the Boom Boom Room."
A farewell bash planned for Saturday is now being dubbed an encore party at the Boom Boom Room.
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