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Op-Ed Thinks WeHo’s Boystown Is Going Mainstream, And Losing Its Gay Character

One local wonders what will happen once new restaurants and bars open on the block

A pair of rainbow flags flying in West Hollywood
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

The area of West Hollywood known as Boystown is in the midst of a potential cultural shift. From La Cienega to Robertson near Santa Monica Boulevard, a slew of forthcoming high-profile restaurant and bar openings are replacing longtime retail and neighborhood businesses. This has a few locals questioning the impact on this iconic West Hollywood district.

WeHoVille started the discussion with two key questions: are the current changes destroying the feel of Boystown? And what’s the impact of retail shops being replaced by alcohol serving bars and restaurants?

The Boystown branch for Bottega Louie has been underway for almost 18 months, and will replace the unopened Cooley’s, which used to be a jewelry store. The longstanding bar Revolver may take over a neighboring clothing store, and then there’s the question about Lisa Vanderpump’s impending Tom Tom bar and restaurant. There is no known opening date, but Tom Tom is slated to replace the prominent sex shop, Chi Chi La Rue. Then there’s the Citibank building on San Vicente, which is about to become a sports bar called Rocco’s Tavern.

West Hollywood has the most restaurant and bar liquor licenses per capita in Los Angeles County, and ranks first in California for licenses per square mile. The aforementioned additions will add four new bars and restaurants within a .2 mile distance. Could these newcomers create a Boystown that feels like less of a gay neighborhood, and more of a mainstream nightlife destination?

Conceivably, the changes represent a neighborhood expansion of some of LA’s better bars and restaurants. Or is the addition of a straight sports bar in the middle of Boystown an invasion? Time will tell.