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Co-Owner of Popular DTLA Gay Bar Dies Suddenly

Precinct loses a key figure that shaped DTLA’s gay nightlife

Thor Stephens
Thor Stephens, owner Precinct Bar
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.

Thor Stephens, co-owner of Downtown LA’s Precinct bar, has died. The Hornet first reported the news, and the cause of death is unknown. Stephens is survived by Precinct co-owner and husband Brian McIntire. The duo opened Precinct in 2015, which was the first Downtown LA gay bar to open in two decades.

Precinct opened only a few weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to marry in 2015. The restaurant and bar is on the second floor of a two-story building on the corner of Fourth Street and Broadway in Historic Core The Precinct name took inspiration from the building’s history, which used to be a Department of Corrections facility.

Even though West Hollywood receives far more attention in the gay nightlife discussion, Precinct’s 2015 opening was part of a rapid succession of gay bars that opened in Downtown. That same year, Bar Mattachine, Redline, and Precinct opened, along with more events that catered to the gay community. Prior to Precinct, the only gay bar in Downtown was the divey New Jalisco Bar, which had been open for over 20 years.

The performer Meatball (née Logan Jennings) wrote the following in an Instagram post, “We lost someone who helped create a the queer community in DTLA and built a bar with his bare hands. You will be missed Thor.” A February 22 Facebook post from McIntire states that Stephens passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Precinct’s Facebook statement about Thor Stephens