Rage Nightclub has been a destination for LGBTQ + nightlife in West Hollywood's busy Santa Monica Boulevard corridor for decades. Now, almost 40 years after first opening its doors, the club has announced that it has closed for good. Another local company is set to collapse amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The management of Rage Nightclubs blames their landlord Monte Overstreet with some of the blame. The club's now former general manager Ron Madrill told Q Voice News that rent for the site was "very high" before it closed in March. He believes a dead end in rent payments may have helped shut down Rage.
Overstreet also reportedly owns the space formerly occupied by the neighboring bar Flaming Saddles Saloon, which also announced a permanent closure effective last month – a reverse course from an earlier plan to reopen under COVID guidelines .
“As we neared the opening of Flaming Saddles WeHo, we realized we didn't have a sure deal. That was certainly a surprise, but we renegotiated immediately ”, WeHoVille told the owners Jacqui Squatriglia and Chris Barnes in a Facebook statement about their agreements with the landlord. “Please note that we have exhausted all possibilities to close a deal for our location. With today's rules, there is no way we can meet our tax obligations that were presented to us at this location. "
Overstreet has been investing in commercial real estate since the 1980s and amassing a multi-address portfolio in West Hollywood. In addition to the Rage and Flaming Saddles buildings, there are also owners of 8861, 8869, 8905, and 8917 Santa Monica Boulevard, according to tax records.
Gym Sportsbar, another LGBTQ + -oriented facility on the same section of Santa Monica Boulevard (in a building not known to be connected to Overstreet), also announced a permanent closure in July, citing the Pandemic and the economic consequences.
Back in April, West Hollywood City Council imposed a moratorium on commercial evictions for companies unable to pay rent due to the pandemic. This moratorium has now been extended to September 30th. From the end of the moratorium, companies with fewer than 20 employees have time to pay the rent back for their space. Tenants and landlords need to negotiate the structure of their individual payment plans.
Gay venues outside of West Hollywood have struggled for their businesses to stay afloat, even after months of closings and an uncertain future, even as the state moves towards a commercial reopening. Cuties, an East Hollywood coffee shop, shut down in the summer and Club Cobra, a North Hollywood club specifically aimed at Latino customers, went out of business in May.
RELATED: A colorful new coffee house in Hollywood powers the vital social services of the LA LGBT hub
Stay up to date on LA cuisine and culture. Sign up for our newsletter today.