DEAR WEHO 📬 We can’t depend on revenue from bars anymore

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Just as is keenly described in the CNN article ‘Not going out.’ Is it last orders for London’s nightlife?, WeHo and other large cities are no doubt headed for the same fate.

The article from CNN discusses the significant challenges faced by the nightlife industry in London and other major cities since the coronavirus pandemic began. This situation reflects a broader issue where nightlife venues are struggling with diminished customer spending and increased operating costs, which have surged by 30% to 40%. In London alone, more than 3,000 nightlife venues have closed since March 2020, a 15% drop from pre-pandemic figures. These closures are largely due to the cost-of-living crisis, rising rents, and high energy bills, which have eroded profit margins. Additionally, changes in work habits with more people working from home and concerns over safety and transportation at night have further decreased foot traffic in these venues. The shift in social habits post-pandemic, with people being more selective about going out, adds another layer of difficulty for nightlife venues trying to recover and thrive again.

Our city councilmembers and city planners are so smitten with the false belief that WeHo is the nightlife entertainment capital of the universe, that it will wake up one day to see the same issues that are in the article.

Our city must shift its financial perspective from believing the golden goose will forever continue to lay the golden eggs, into looking to build a city for grown ups where quality of life and affordability are a priority. We can no longer depend on visitors and residents coming from miles away to prop up the WeHo economy.

It is neither an accident or a coincidence that so many our WeHo’s bars were sold or are for sale. The rationale for a sale told by the existing owners, including turning the bar to the next generation or to pursue other options is pure fiction. If the businesses were making the same money that they used to make, none of the bars would be for sale. Money is money and greed is greed. New owners or would-be owners are often looking for a vanity purchase in order to promote themselves or otherwise need to use a bar as a vehicle for other business activities. The bar owners who have sold or will be selling see the writing on the wall better than the would-be buyers.

Covid rent abatements are finished and younger people have learned how to purchase a bottle of liquor and cannabis at a store rather than $20 per drink at a bar. After all, they are only going to stare at Grindr or Instagram all evening.

This article says it better than most of our city leaders can or want to comprehend.

‘Not going out.’ Is it last orders for London’s nightlife?
https://www.cnn.com/2024/04/06/business/london-nightlife-struggling/index.html

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— Joan 

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John Smith
John Smith
2 months ago

The city would be better off with fewer bars. So would the people who go to them.

C.R.
C.R.
2 months ago
Reply to  John Smith

Yeah right, the nightlife is the only reason to visit West Hollywood, whether the visitors are local, from elsewhere in the nation or from other nations. This piece is tone deaf. Looking forward to the new bar that will be constructed on Santa Monica Blvd right near the corner of San Vicente, an actual new development this time! And I’ll get right back to you soon about the plans I have for what’s best for your life, I’m sure you’ll love it.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
2 months ago

Well people have been saying the same thing since the onset of the HIV pandemic. Despite traffic, parking challenges and internet hook-ups, the bars continue to make money. Admittedly it is a far cry from their hey-day but even a quick review of City revenues will reflect that West Hollywood remains a destination center. I suppose the biggest threat to WeHo night life is concerns about public safety and the City needs to have a real commitment to increase law enforcement, both in numbers and in efficiency.

Larry Block
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

A blanket statement that ‘bars continue to make money’ is very misleading. All of these business were shut down and had big losses for 2 years during Covid and had to pay rent and were beginning to climb out of the hole when the council cut the sheriff budget and raised the minimum wage. Many opted to sell because the hole was deep and they wanted to get out. Your comment distorts the real life challenges of business owners

SingleGuyWeHo
SingleGuyWeHo
1 month ago
Reply to  Larry Block

If so, write a story about it and state facts. Otherwise I call bullsh*t.

Last edited 1 month ago by SingleGuyWeHo
:dpb
:dpb
2 months ago

Hmm. I’ll be called chauvinistic, misogynistic, woman-hater and an old out of touch gay, but here goes. First this opinion was written by Joan (no last name) who I would assume is a woman. We don’t know here age or demographic. She’s says our city, so I’ll assume she lives in West Hollywood proper. She is the using London as a comparison to West Hollywood, 8.982 million persons, 671 sqr miles vs. Weho, 34,514 person, 1.9 sqr miles. London caters to a broad spectrum of people and Weho appeals to gays, rockers and yuppies (Russian Jews in the day, but… Read more »

Uron
Uron
2 months ago
Reply to  :dpb

Sounds like the same ostrich with its head in the sand mentality that has propelled the city’s thinking for years. By the way, one doesn’t have to only use a urinal to understand industry and financial trends.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
2 months ago

The decline in WeHo gay bars began when women started to frequent them, even having bachelorette parties, and they complained to management, then, when they saw gay guys doing what gay guys do (or did!) at gay bars. Their presence changed the vibe. The women took over and it just wasn’t the same for the guys anymore.

Last edited 2 months ago by Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
2 months ago
Reply to  Gimmeabreak

Lordy, what a poorly constructed few sentences that is, such that even I find it hard to read, … and I wrote it!

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
2 months ago

You mean no more Lindsey Horvath dancing on the tables at The Abbey?

JF1
JF1
2 months ago

Yup.

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