Faultline leather bar looks for a new home after 27 years

Faultline Gay Bar

Faultline spent 27 years on Melrose Avenue. Co-owner Ruby De Fresno said they are cruising for a new location, possibly in Silver Lake. Photo: Faultline.

Faultline is cruising for a new location.

The leather bar recently left its Silver Lake location, and co-owner Ruby De Fresno is scouting for a new home for the landmark gay space.

De Fresno is negotiating a new lease, possibly in Silver Lake, she said.

“We want to keep it going,” she said. “I’m very excited to keep the legacy of Faultline alive. Preserving this historic bar has always been close to my heart.”

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Faultline has been closed since March due to COVID-19 and mandatory Los Angeles County health orders that closed bars and clubs. The virus has wreaked financial havoc on LGBTQ spaces, several bars and clubs have closed and others have created GoFundMe pages to stay afloat until they are allowed to re-open.

Faultline had been a fixture on Melrose Avenue near the intersection with Vermont Avenue for 27 years. De Fresno and her business partner bought the landmark bar in 2016 from Jorge Usatorres and leased the building.

De Fresno said they vacated the space “recently.”

“It was a difficult decision,” she said. “It was a decision to keep the business alive. Rent had something to do with it. We were hoping to stay, but it didn’t work out.”

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Neon penis

Don’t worry, the bar’s neon penis is in good hands.

Before leaving, De Fresno had the iconic interior decor, including the illuminated phallus, removed for safekeeping, and its future home.

“All the interior decor and artwork is in storage,” De Fresno said. “The neon penis, neon clock, and other historic items are being preserved,” including the larger-than-life, iconic Faultline leather men art pieces, she said.

Also, the interior Faultline sign and the neon “F” from the exterior logo also have been preserved, De Fresno said.

Historic building

The 74-year-old building that housed Faultline was constructed in 1947. In the 1960s, the space was called Red Rogue and owned by Judy Garland and her husband, Sid Luft. Garland put her handprint and signed her name on the cement slab behind the back bar in 1963.

The space has existed as a gay bar more than 40 years. In the 1980s, it was known as The Stud, a Levi-leather cruise bar. In 1989, the bar was changed to Griff’s.

Shawn Farnsworth bought the business in 1993 and christened it Faultline.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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