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Monday, September 1, 2014

Silver Lake gay nightclub to throw one last party

Photo from LeBarcito Facebook page

One of the last of Silver Lake’s gay bars, Le Barcito, is scheduled to close its doors tonight with a Halloween bash, according to its Facebook page. The Sunset Junction bar has long been a magnet for gay Latinos with Spanish-language drag shows and other events. Le Barcito is located in the Sunset Boulevard building once occupied by a previous gay bar called the  Black Cat, where the LAPD arrested several men for kissing, triggering one of the nation’s first gay-right protests in 1967. In 2009, the L.A. Weekly named Le Barcito as Best Club the  Black Cat Dragged In:

Decked out in glitter-flecked gowns and flashing beauty-pageant grins, the performers engage the crowd in a drag revue set completely to Spanish pop songs. If you’re itching to see drag queens lip-synch to songs that don’t involve Beyoncé, this is the place to go.

What will replace the Le Barcito and its purple facade? Eater L.A. says that the Melrose Avenue restaurant Village Idiot has been rumored to have leased the space in the building, which is a city historic cultural monument.

46 comments

  1. how ridiculously depressing that all of these gay landmarks are disappearing in silver lake. couldn’t the village idiot just move in next door (in the empty laundromat)? sigh.

  2. This makes me sad.

  3. I agree with Jennifer….. theres nothing that remains anymore from the old neighborhood, they don’t need more coffee shops or shoe stores or vegan desert places, silver lake is loosing all its charm, and the Parilla closing too, and what else and what next, El conquistador???????????

    Its truly very very very SAD

  4. It has a double whammy – both gay bars and Latino bars have been disappearing.

  5. unfortunately the empty laundromat doesn’t have a liquor license…bummer is right.

  6. The liquor license follows the business though (not the space), so if they really wanted to – they could buy the license and use the laundromat. In either event, if Le Barcito is closing due to a loss in revenue, interest (or a lack thereof) in the space won’t change anything.

  7. Frankly, the last thing we need is yet another restaurant!

    It is a real shame to lose the Black Cat – Le Barcito. I’m not gay, but I do recognize a cultural landmark and its value to the community in continuing. I wouldn’t normally much are about a bar closing, and in fact would not want very many bars for a neighborhood. But this one makes a difference.

    And that is a real hole in this story: why is the bar closing? That reason is VERY important and its absence is a real failure in reporting.

  8. Re the liquor license, actually, you cannot merely buy the business and serve liquor. You still must pass review by the state for the license. Not just anyone is allowed to have a liquor license — and full background check is required.

  9. Going, going, gone.
    The carpetbaggers are turning what was once a very unique neighborhood into an upscale outdoor mall.
    So gross.

  10. Another example of the gentrification of the community. Maybe they are taking over both spaces? Anyway, I assume there will be some kind of plaque.

  11. Cristi – Not necessarily. Generally speaking, it’s harder to get than maintain a liquor license, and when you buy a building that’s already licensed, you usually get to keep the license via transfer. Getting one for the first time is an incredibly difficult process, and if Silver Lake’s quota of establishments (most neighborhoods have a cap) is already filled, the answer is no.

    Also, you don’t so much “buy” a liquor license as “give money to ABC and hope for the best.”

  12. When i first heard about this as a rumor i simply discarded it as such….and now we get this last minute announcement. A lot of people are very upset about this. It is sadly the end of an era of fun Latino gay bars/clubs in Silver Lake….The neighborhood is starting to look like one big mall…..Fooey!

    Humberto Franco
    Silver Lake

  13. Carpetbaggers? For what it’s worth the Village Idiot’s owners are longtime Silver Lake residents.

  14. this can’t be happening!!! this sucks big time! the gayness is leaving silver lake, and it’s being replaced with breeders w/strollers and vegans!!!

    rip le barcito! you’ll be missed. *pours whiskey for their gay latino peers*

  15. What a shame. The Black Cat predated Stonewall by about 2 years as a symbol of gay liberation. It is a shame that all the gay businesses seem to be leaving Silverlake. I always liked Silverlake much better than the tinsel of WeHo.

  16. All is not lost; Casita del Campo is still going strong. If Casita ever closes, I would be very very sad. The ambience is great, the margaritas are tasty and potent (at least when the older Latino bartender is working) — and I just like the place a lot. I’ve gone there for years (first visit was with family in the early 1980′s) and I have lots of memories of the restaurant. For those who feel that gay Silver Lake is disappearing, check out the crowd at Casita del Campo on a weeknight; I think it’ll reassure you a bit.

  17. If you don’t want a longtime business to close, then patronize it while it’s open. Like The Spotlight that closed before it, Let Barcito has been nearly empty for some time.

  18. “the gayness is leaving silver lake, and it’s being replaced with breeders w/strollers and vegans!!!”

    Hey, I’m a vegan (who left Silver Lake too, by the way). What do you have against people trying to do right by the world?

  19. @Bum: You said it. Complaining after it’s gone is irrelevant, doubly so if you didn’t patronize it in the first place. Our city is not a historical monument. Times change.

  20. can someone with money$$ please open a decent book store…just one

  21. good. that food across the street is terrible. and we need good food around here. and this place has a parking lot. and really, who the hell ever went into LeBar ? it’s not like it’s a pink dot moving in. get over it and complain about the el pollo loco eyesore.

  22. They apparently took over both spaces (laundromat & Le Bar). Just what the Eastside needs, another “Gastropub”. At least it’s not another salon.

  23. As some have already noted above – if you don’t want the Sunset Junction businesses to close, then patronize them. In fact, with the holiday season around the corner this is a good time to shop at the cool stores in Silver Lake. I do all my holiday gift shopping in the Sunset Junction (and not on Amazon or Target). Yes, you have to ship them yourselves, but my experience is that my family and friends remember my quirky gifts long after they’ve forgotten the mall crap.

  24. nshould had of, gone last night

  25. Such a shame. If the owner’s had their head on right, they could have revived the space as a gay cultural landmark bar making Le Bar Cito’s history work for them. Unless that is the plan, I will not spend my gay dollars there.

  26. “the gayness is leaving silver lake, and it’s being replaced with breeders w/strollers and vegans!!!”

    The ‘gayness’ has been leaving silver lake ever since west hollywood became a city. If you want to live in a growing ‘gay’ area, that’s where one would move.

    As for ‘breeders’??? Guess what? Gay’s wouldn’t exist w/o them.

  27. oh bummer does this mean I wont have to watch my step for condoms and ruber gloves on hyperion now?

  28. Silverlake is still ready when you want to get your gay on: the Other Side (LA’s only piano bar?), El Conquistador, Rough Trade, Akbar, the Eagle, MJ’s, Faultline, Casita del Campo. Good spots all. It’s a sign of progress that gay folks aren’t restricted to only “certain” restaurants & bars. I miss some of the older spots: the Detour (also historic) & Cuffs. Those were fun.
    I agree with the posters above: support your local businesses! Silverlake is a thriving & dynamic area, change is guaranteed.

  29. LOL “the gayness is leaving Silverlake” – Why does an area have to have gay bars to be gay?

  30. So many cry babies. shut up already “the gay is leaving silverlake” (Someone posted above me) get over it. One bar is gone and we’re getting a restaurant. I’d take that over another liquor store or smoke shop. Its a fine addition to Sunset Junction, theres not foot traffic on that side of the street anyway.

    Lebar looked dead anyway.

  31. For some reason I think of Sunset Junction as strangely lacking in restaurants. Even though it’s technically not. But still, Village Idiot is good.

  32. I went last night – it was craaazy! $2 drinks.

  33. what an amazing night! it was sad to see all the employees and performers lined up for one last drink together. It was so nice to have a place so close to me that had amazing latin drag queens, everyone who frequented this place were so inviting and genuine. Its sad that people who control property are blind to businesses that thrive even tho they are not mainstream….does silverlake really need another trendy restuarant? NO! but silverlake does need a latin gay bar, esp one as awesome as Le Barcito. RIP old silverlake.

  34. I wish the owners of the village idiot would have realized that they could have easily let le barcito stay and have their eatery. it seems that the powers that be want silverlake to be another melrose. If the owners are longtime silverlake residence why wouldn’t they have the respect and allow such a landmark to continue to run, i can get overpriced food anywhere…i want my drag queens back!

  35. Ummmmmmm… not sad here about Le Barcito leaving. Things change, people! Think about it – it was the Black Cat… THEN CHANGED into Le Barcito. Gay people today seem less interested in being unique in any case… no need to commemorate them….they want to assimilate into straight culture. You know, “we’re not different only what we do in bed is different”. Things change… faster and faster these days. If you want to lament the past, why not lament about when Los Angeles was a pristine land and Australopithicus was roaming around in Africa and the world was without all the stupid bullshit there is today.

  36. Yeah but when they use a big word like gentrification they feel so smart and justified!

  37. i agree w/ @cc. el pollo loco is a hideous eyesore in an area that is supposed to be one of the great neighborhoods of LA.

  38. richard plungen and todd are jerks. if gentrification means a safer neighborhood for everyone then fine, but my experience of gentrification as someone who grew up in LA and have witnessed transplants with an attitude avoid latin and ethnic cultures like t plague until they are glorified in the LA weekly, and greedy land grabbers come into poor neighborhoods to flip houses within a month and cause the cost of living to sky-rocket, then yes i have a problem with gentrification. so suck it

  39. There’s plenty of LA that has not been ‘gentrified’. I’m sure one can find spots in south central for example.

    One can always move to the non-’gentrified’ parts of LA, if it bothers you so much.

    Oh, and those who live on the south side of sunset probably wouldn’t want their neighborhood to regress back to what it was like in the ’80′s, I mean, really!?!?! Get real.

  40. Blame the people who sold out their homes for gentrification.

  41. Walmart is next !

  42. i’ve actually heard rumors that starbucks is opening a coffee shop in the laundry mat space. apparently it won’t be branded as starbucks but as a smaller neighborhood cafe that will also serve food and wine. hopefully this is just a rumor but i did hear from a prominent local business owner.

  43. I was under the impression the last few years that gay people are generally moving from WeHo into Silver Lake – at least, various friends I know who still live out west have been saying that. And the person above who was listing gay venues forgot to mention The Kitchen, right next to Akbar. I wish I had gone to Le Barcito while it was still around, but these other locations all still have a distinctively “Silver Lake” gay vibe to them – MJ’s is the only one that I could imagine actually in West Hollywood, and even that on a few nights a week.

  44. Is Cache still open on Glendale Blvd? I admit it’s been awhile since I’ve been over there.

  45. What happened to Ramon? I want to see him. I didnt realize the bar wasd closing until I came back in November.

  46. Yes @mj? What ever happened to the bartenders? Especially Ramon? He was the best and I would follow him and his drinks to any bar that he worked at? His were ALWAYS the best! He and the other bartenders were part of silver lake history as well! Anyone know what happened to them?

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