When West Hollywood’s Gold Coast bar shut down after 40 years last September, many speculated that the once-thriving gay scene on Santa Monica Boulevard was down for the count. The legendary dive bar was the third gay landmark on the thoroughfare to shut down during the pandemic, following the closure of Rage and Flaming Saddles a month before. All three establishments were owned or co-owned by controversial real-estate baron Monte Overstreet, the so-called “king of Boystown,” who came under fire for taking a hard line in rent negotiations with his COVID-strapped tenants. Overstreet and his business partner also owned Oil Can Harry’s, the landmark Country Western gay bar in Studio City that shuttered last December after 52 years. (Founded in 1968, it was the oldest gay bar in Los Angeles—and a launching pad for performers from k.d. Lang to RuPaul.)
But while WeHo’s bar owners were especially hard hit by the pandemic, the dire predictions of Boystown’s demise turned out to be premature. Rage is returning this fall under the ownership of former NSYNC star Lance Bass, who vows that his revamped Robertson Boulevard disco will reopen as the biggest gay nightclub in the world. (Bass is also a partner in Rocco’s, the wildly successful gay bar and restaurant across the street.) Now, Gold Coast is also poised for a comeback, albeit with new owners and with a new name: The Or Bar.