Queer spaces Executive Suite, The Crest start GoFundMes to pay debt

Executive Suite Long Beach

The Executive Suite, a renowned Long Beach queer space, is photographed on July 6. Photo: Richard Grant/Q Voice News

Long Beach queer spaces The Crest and Executive Suite have GoFundMe campaigns to help them pay down the massive debt they have accumulated while being forced to stay closed during COVID-19.

Because they have a restaurant license, the Executive Suite was allowed to re-open this week only for outdoor dining under a tent in their parking lot in front of the club.

The Crest, located in North Long Beach on Cherry Avenue just north of South Street, is a dive bar with a patio that turned 25 years old last year during the lock down.

Owner Michael Romero, who organized the crowdfunding effort, said in the post that he had planned to celebrate The Crest’s 25th anniversary and the customers who have supported the bar during the years.

“Never did I expect this to continue for close to a year,” he said.

For their GoFundMe campaign, The Crest has set a $40,000 goal. They have raised approximately $5,000.

The funds requested will be used to pay past rent, utilities, and licenses “as the bills continue to pile up during the closure.”

Several LGBTQ bars and clubs in the Los Angeles area have closed as a result of financial hardships during the pandemic.

Also, in January, Oil Can Harry’s, the oldest gay club in Los Angeles, announced they would not re-open after the pandemic.

Oil Can Harry’s — historic 52-year-old gay club — has closed

The Executive Suite opened at Redondo Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway in 1977. Robert VanBeveran and Leonard Sinatra have owned it the past seven years. Their eight-year anniversary of owning the club is Feb. 6.

Executive Suite is known for their country Sundays, drag shows and themed nights for lesbians, Latinos, and the leather and transgender communities. They also hosted a popular “furry night.”

“We sponsor pool leagues and work with several non-profit organizations to raise funds for their causes,” according to the GoFundMe campaign post. “We are a safe  home for everyone who passes through our front doors.

They have raised approximately $11,000 of a $24,000 goal.

Sinatra says the club’s monthly expenses are $19,000, including rent, utilities, insurance, licenses, and maintenance.

“If you have ever danced a dance, sang a song, shot a game of pool, played with a furry, tipped our go-go dancers, or were entertained by our drag shows, please show you care,” Sinatra wrote.

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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