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Sad, but true – Big Gay Starbucks in WeHo is closing after 27 years

Big Gay Starbucks West Hollywood – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

It’s sad, but true: The Starbucks at 8595 Santa Monica Boulevard in the Ramada Plaza is closing on July 31, having operated at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Westmount Drive since opening its doors. double doors in 1995. An employee confirms that The Big Gay Starbucks in West Hollywood is closing due to security concerns.

Although a local blog is trying to pin the closure of the new minimum wage hike in West Hollywood, 16 other sites in various cities including Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and Portland, Oregon are also closing at the end of this month unrelated to recent benefits impacting WeHo.

Big Gay Starbucks West Hollywood – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

Our source says business has been steady at the WeHo site despite some dearth of foot traffic after the 24-Hour Fitness Super Sport gym across the street closed last November. He says it all comes down to escalating arguments and heated confrontations at the store – not only from homeless people and people with mental health issues, but also angry customers who are described as having rights. , angry and becoming increasingly physically aggressive.

Big Gay Starbucks West Hollywood – Photo by Paulo Murillo for WEHO TIMES

“There’s a higher crime rate in West Hollywood right now,” the barista said. “Unfortunately, this is reflected inside our store. There is not much we can do. The idea of ​​having a security guard would only be good for eyewitness accounts. We have a lot of issues that seem to be getting worse. There’s been fights over things. We’ve had rude customers with us; call us names. You were surprised how many times I’ve been called f**got, and it’s like, do you know what city you’re in?

The Starbucks employee says the shutdown is strictly at the corporate level. No one locally had any control over the decision. The district manager of the WeHo site found out with the rest of the employees. An employee meeting was held at 4:30 p.m. yesterday. “None of us knew what it was and then our manager broke the news to us. I think she only found out a few days before. It was a company-level decision. We we were shocked.

The Santa Monica & Fairfax Starbucks located at 7901 Santa Monica Blvd, also closed permanently in West Hollywood this year on Friday, February 6, 2022. This location has also seen a lot of crime and its windows have been constantly smashed. The company chose not to renew its lease.

The closure of the Big Gay Starbucks in West Hollywood is a blow to a community still recovering from the loss of the 24-Hour Fitness Sport gym. The coffee chain has been a part of this area of ​​West Hollywood for decades. Many may remember the late 90s/early 2000s when the place was nicknamed “The Weho Beach” because gay people liked to sit outside shirtless and work on their tan lines.

The West Hollywood sober community will also feel the loss. This place has hosted fellowship groups that meet after local 12-step meetings. It was also a quiet space to perform 12-step work.

Employees will have the option of relocating to local stores. Our source tells us to keep an eye out for special events and promotions as WeHo’s store nears its last day after serving coffee, teas, pastries and other breakfast items for nearly three decades.