WEST HOLLYWOOD — The closing of bars and restaurants under Governor Gavin Newsom’s orders has put a strain on West Hollywood’s popular gay sports bar, Gym Bar, on 8738 Santa Monica Blvd. It is one of West Hollywood’s first bars to permanently close due to the worldwide pandemic. The owners posted their farewell to the clients on Facebook on July 5.
The bar has been a regular meeting place for many locals including members of West Hollywood Dodgeball who frequently go there after games. The first initial closing of bars was on March 16 from Governor Newsom as he indicated that it would limit the spread of coronavirus. They were allowed the reopening of bars on June 10 if they followed social distancing protocols and emphasized sanitation guides. However, Gov. Newsom ordered the reclose of bars due to the spike of COVID-19 infections in California merely 18 days after the initial reopening.
“It’s not an easy decision. It is heart wrenching to say the least… we are both enormously proud of what we have come to achieve. We will always be a part of West Hollywood,” stated Schmutzler in the Facebook video.
Many wrote heartfelt comments under the video stating that The Gym Bar has changed the community and will have a special place in their hearts.
Due to the closing of West Hollywood Park Auditorium because of the park renovation, Gym Bar was already experiencing a financial distress. Co-owner Rick Schmutzler stated that in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic impacts, they had to deal with a landlord who was not compromising whatsoever. Although they did not elaborate on the matter, it was discovered that the Gym Bar’s landlord is Elias Shokrian of Calitex LLC in Beverly Hills.
On Wednesday, July 8 the co-owners Hunter Haliniak and Rick Schmutzler will hold their weekly virtual Zoom party from 8-10 p.m. for the clients and community.