The storefronts of West Hollywood tell a fabulously evocative tale. Sex shops festoon their window displays with impossibly oversized dildos, accompanied by enough lube to drown a sailor. Restaurants entice the most sophisticated of palates while simultaneously advertising a fun, flirty atmosphere. Rainbow flags undulate above it all, painting the gayborhood with a welcoming allure.
And then there are the bars.
Queer clubs are the throbbing lifeblood of WeHo, even though they are currently shuttered due to COVID-19. But we refuse to refer to our coveted gay bars in the past tense. They are our havens, and they will roar back to life with a slap, tickle and grunt very soon.
Unfortunately, it won’t be soon enough for Gold Coast. The gritty, gropey gathering hole recently announced its permanent closure, triggering an outpouring of nostalgia that flowed as generously as the cocktails themselves.
From red dress parties to white dress parties to bearded nuns cavorting with swarthy bears, Gold Coast was more than just a bar; it was a full-body embrace. Located at the uncircumcised tip of town, GC gave Eastern West Hollywood its soul. Due to the fact that men over 30 (gay gulp!) frequented the dimly lit pub, the enclave earned the nickname “Old Coast,” but its sense of community was as spry as a twink and friendly as a wink.
The news of Gold Coast’s demise is the latest domino in the slow devolution of WeHo. Gym Sportsbar threw in the bar towel back in July. The sweaty locker room vibe lingers in the ether, but the athletic clientele will have to find a new destination to bring their jockstrap fantasies to life.
A month later, Flaming Saddles hiked up its britches and rode off into the sunset. Our cowpoke cravings vanished with it, sending our parched lips in search of satiation.
Even the iconic Rage nightclub couldn’t survive the brutal summer of 2020, deepening the beverage drought that now eclipses West Hollywood.
But the loss of Gold Coast feels particularly hurtful. The only “gay agenda” at GC was love. Even when you weren’t thirsty, Gold Coast would fulfill you. Even when you weren’t lonely, Gold Coast kept you company. Even when it seemed like the party was over, Gold Coast was always good for one last round of caring chaos.
Hmm, it seems as though we have slipped into the past tense again. So be it. We really will rebuild our community, but now is a time for reflection and replenishment. Cheers, GC. We owe you one.
Photo: Facebook Gold Coast – West Hollywood
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