In mid-December, a West Hollywood newcomer emerged inside the former Gold Coast Bar, located across the street from Connie & Ted’s called Or Bar (or means gold in French). The bar is a welcome addition after Southern California lost many historic queer bars over the last three years, including the 40-year-old Gold Coast in 2020, as well as Flaming Saddles, Oil Can Harry’s, and Rage.
Or Bar’s co-owners overhauled Gold Coast’s dated interior into a fresh and modern lounge with smoky-colored walls, and opulent touches of Art Deco with black, gold, and bronze throughout. The walls include works from artists including a Ken Price original silkscreen print. At the center, a stunning chandelier hovers over the bar area designed by Or Bar partner and former Fashion Police co-host George Kotsiopoulos.
“It’s custom-made for the bar and it has 3,700 pieces of crystal,” says Kotsiopoulos. “The three of us: Rob, Stephanie, and myself were on 12-foot ladders for seven days hanging [the crystals].
Kotsiopoulos is referring to his business partners Rob Novinger — who also owns the revamped Circus of Books bookstore — and entrepreneur Stephanie Schestag (who goes by Stevie), who took over Or Bar’s space in 2021. Though Kotsiopoulos and Novinger conceptualized the design for Or Bar, they enlisted Solrac Architects to assist with the execution.
Or Bar’s menu serves twists on classic cocktails, like the Or 54, the bar’s take on the French 75. There’s also a New Fashioned (made with Bulleit rye whiskey, Cointreau, blood orange honey, cherries, and orange bitters) to go along with beer, wine, and non-alcohol options. Light snacks are also available. The partners are aware that they are taking over a beloved spot. In the opening weeks, they experienced pushback on the pricing of the drinks. After listening to input, the owners quickly decided to lower prices that would be more in line with other bars in the neighborhood. Well drinks start at $13 and specialty cocktails range from $16 to $22.
Update: an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that artist Ken Price was queer.
“Most of the people that come here used to come to the Gold Coast,” says Kotsiopoulos. “They understand [that] this neighborhood is not the same neighborhood that it was when Gold Coast opened in 1983, or in 1974 when Lillian’s was here. Our goal was to be a new kind of queer modern bar, a bit more upscale and a bit more polished, where you can sit and chat and meet friends.”
Or Bar’s operating hours are from Monday to Wednesday from 4 p.m. until midnight, Thursday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday from 2 p.m. to midnight.