As COVID-19 continues to take a toll on Los Angeles nightlife, one of West Hollywood’s legendary clubs closed permanently this week. The 37-year-old Rage Nightclub is the city’s latest casualty. The club/bar/restaurant lived on the prominent strip of Santa Monica Boulevard between San Vicente and Robertson Boulevards known as the LGBT Rainbow District, or formerly, Boystown.
Wehoville reported that Rage’s club’s lease would expire in November, and owners Robert Maghame and Saeed Sattari were unable to negotiate a renewal with prominent LA landlord Monte Overstreet due to unpaid rent. Overstreet owns the building that housed Rage, among others throughout the city. Overstreet also owns the property for another prominent gay bar, Flaming Saddles, which closed on August 16. Flaming Saddles also could not negotiate a new lease agreement with Overstreet.
The climate for bars and clubs is devastating in 2020, as these businesses are required by state order to remain temporarily closed. Back in May, the Alcoholic Beverage Control ruled that bars can reopen, as long as they sell food or partner with a food vendor. According to WeHo Times, Rage did not open when California Gov. Gavin Newsom allowed bars to reopen on June 19. Bars were ordered to close again on June 28 as coronavirus numbers rose throughout the region.
West Hollywood’s popular bar/restaurant/club The Abbey remains open for business, and was able to make a specific pivot towards food service on outdoor patios. Though most bars/clubs are unable to make a similar shift and remain closed, nearly six months after the entire state of California began sheltering-in-place.