The Abbey is annually voted one of the world’s best gay bars. That explains the long lines on the weekends to get into this once humble coffee house that now boasts four full bars and sits on about five times the amount of real estate it originally occupied. The drinks at this West Hollywood stalwart are notoriously strong (they should be at $12 to $14 per) and the upscale, Gothic-meets-the-Mediterranean indoor/outdoor spaces, plentiful cabanas and hunky bartenders are all aesthetically satisfying to be sure. If there’s a downside to The Abbey it is actually its success. Not so very long ago, it was the nucleus of gay life in West Hollywood, but as its popularity has grown, increasingly the crowd (particularly at night) seems to be made up of tourists and a hodgepodge of bar flies in which West Hollywood locals no longer feature as prominently as they once did. To its credit though, the Abbey banned ‘Hen Nights’ and bachelorette parties in early 2012, which helped to shore up its gay street cred among some of the faithful who felt it had overextended itself in its efforts to be hetero-friendly. All that said, make no mistake, The Abbey is the granddaddy of gay bars in Los Angeles and as such it still rules the roost. Other bars and clubs come and go, but, bitch and moan as some may, every gay in West Hollywood still worships at the altar of The Abbey from time to time.
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