WEST HOLLYWOOD – Another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic emerged Tuesday as social media and some blogs reported that Rage Nightclub, a beloved institution on the Santa Monica Boulevard strip in West Hollywood, would close permanently after 37 years.
The club was known for its DJ-fueled dance floor and drag shows for the Southland’s 18 and over crowd.
Rage was opened in 1983 by Robert Maghame and Saeed Sattari who were unable to negotiate a new lease with WeHo real estate investor magnate Monte Overstreet. The current lease is set to expire in November.
The closure is yet another in a series for West Hollywood’s LGBTQ business community as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, Flaming Saddles, a country-themed bar also on the Santa Monica strip, closed after its owners Jacqui Squatriglia and Chris Barnes were unable to negotiate back unpaid rent and other considerations with Overstreet.
In July, the GYM sports bar also closed its doors.
The financial losses and difficulties came as a result of the impact of restrictions imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, which initially closed bars and all indoor nightspots. The orders were later modified to allow limited reopening with certain restrictions, however most bars have remained closed.
On Facebook, Ron Madril, the former General manager for the Rage nightclub wrote: “My employment since May 1997. It’s almost a lifetime! The good times will always be cherished, as will the staff…past & present! It’s been a journey meeting sooooo many AMAZING people! So many! Thanks for all the memories, friendships and love!”
The folks commenting on the thread that followed Madril’s post universally expressed dismay and sadness over the loss of the beloved nightspot, some commenting that more closures are to come.
West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath told the Los Angeles Blade views protecting legacy business as critical: “It is incredibly upsetting to know that, despite the City’s many efforts to keep our legacy businesses going during COVID-19, there are some landlords who are simply unwilling to do their part in this time of crisis,” she said. “While at least one of these iconic LGBT bars will be able to successfully relocate in West Hollywood’s Rainbow District, it’s going to take a commitment on all sides to keep our hospitality community alive through this global health pandemic, including support from the state of California which has authority over commercial rents.”