Last Call?

LA landmark gay bar Akbar on the brink of ruin

Via Akbar

Iconic Los Angeles gay nightlife venue Akbar is on the brink of shutting down for good. COVID-19 forced the bar to shutter in March, and it has not been able to reopen since.

Owners Peter Alexander and Scott Craig have taken to GoFundMe to raise a necessary $150,000 to keep the bar open. The pair also report that the building’s landlord has been unwilling to work with them during the coronavirus lockdown to suspend or pay reduced rent.

“The reason we decided to start a GoFundMe campaign was because we are running out of funds,” the pair said in a statement. “After being denied relief in the first round of PPP loans, Scott and I took out a $150,000 small business loan to pay the mortgage and help see Akbar through the worst.”

“But even after receiving a small PPP amount in round two and taking care of our immediate needs and our people during layoff,” the pair continued, “nine months later we realize that we are going to need more help than that.”

Related: West Hollywood’s famed Flaming Saddles closes permanently due to pandemic setbacks

“Our options came down to either digging into our personal retirement/end-of-life healthcare funds or selling the bar and the building,” Alexander & Craig explained. “Selling would be the easiest thing for us financially, but the prospect of not having Akbar anchoring this end of Los Angeles as a safe space for the queer community was untenable, so we decided to ask our community for help.”

“Akbar was born out of the tragedy of the AIDS crisis,” the pair conclude, “and the thought of it being wiped out during this crisis is too hard to imagine. We‘re appealing to our community to help us be there for you when we get on the other side of this. We all need each other.”

At the time of this writing, Akbar has raised $127,000 of its $150,000. The venue is just the latest in a series of nationwide closures of historic LGBTQ businesses due to COVID-19. Those include Gym Bar, Rage and Flaming Saddles in West Hollywood, The Stud in San Francisco, Julius and Alibi Lounge in New York City and The Albuquerque Social Club in Albuquerque, New Mexico, among many others.