World-renowned gay bar launches new outdoor dining space to survive pandemic

The new 'Abbey Road' dining are at The Abbey (Photo: The Abbey Food & Bar)
The new ‘Abbey Road’ dining are at The Abbey (Photo: The Abbey Food & Bar)

One of the most famous gay bars in the world, The Abbey, in West Hollywood, is taking additional steps to allow patrons to social distance. It’s just launched ‘Abbey Road’: a new outdoor dining space in an alley beside its building.

Dining in an alleyway may not sound all that appealing, but unsurprisingly, the team has gone to great lengths to give the space an overhaul.

Related: Gay Los Angeles

“Abbey Road is a Eurocentric bistro café that pays a nod to London’s famous Abbey Road intersection and offers guests all of their favorite Abbey menu items,” says a press statement from the venue.

(Photo: The Abbey Food & Bar)

Abbey Road, of course, is the name of the street where The Beatles recorded their album of the same name. The Abbey team even has a London street sign of ‘Abbey Road’ on a wall above the alley and have painted a small zebra crossing at the entrance to their own ‘Abbey Road.’

(Photo: The Abbey Food & Bar)

The Abbey has been running since 1991. It’s owned by David Cooley.

“Outdoor dining has been part of The Abbey since I first opened in 1991 but now it’s the only option for restaurants,” said Cooley. “The City of West Hollywood, West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and Alcohol Beverage Control have been such great partners, coming up with ways to help small businesses survive and adapt by using the sidewalks and alleyways to keep our businesses open.

“With their help and leadership, we can continue to offer our guests The Abbey experience we’ve all grown to love in an exciting new way.”

Related: Gay bars and clubs in Los Angeles

Los Angeles County has been one of the worst-hit regions in the US for COVID-19, and all restaurants had to close down in April and May. It has had over 221,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the time of writing (just over a third of all cases in California).

Eateries in Los Angeles County were allowed to reopen briefly in late June before a surge in cases saw them closed for anything but takeaway only on July 1. Since that time, there has been an easing on restrictions and LA Country has developed its ‘Temporary Outdoor Dining Program’. This has allowed businesses to offer dining services on sidewalks, parking areas, and on closed streets and alleys.

Related: The iconic venues that won’t be returning after COVID-19

All residents are advised to keep a social distance from others and to wear masks in public places when not eating or drinking. The Abbey will also be taking the temperature of customers as they arrive.