The listing describes it as a“generational purchase opportunity to acquire one of the world’s most iconic nightclubs and restaurants, The Abbey and The Chapel at the Abbey, including its tangible and intangible assets with all branding and branding rights to the businesses, and trophy West Hollywood real estate. The Abbey business, a fee simple interest of 686 N. Robertson Blvd, and The Chapel at The Abbey business with its interest in the lease at 694 N. Robertson Blvd.”
The Abbey recently celebrated its 32nd anniversary.
The news of the businesses being for sale, which was first reported by WeHo Times, comes less than 10 days after the end of Pride Month.
For years, Cooley was a fixture at both watering holes, but his visibility has waned in recent years, though he does make appearances at media or high-profile events.
Cooley has told staff at both venues that he is retired.
Cooley could not be reached for comment.
The listing says the Abbey is “one of the most popular and iconic gay bars, both in the United States and globally, known for its diverse clientele, lively atmosphere, and regular events and theme nights. The Abbey has built a loyal customer base over the years and is a staple in the LGBTQ+ community.”
Since opening in 1991 as a coffee and pastry shop, the Abbey has grown and expanded into a nightlife destination.
Cooley sold a majority of his stake in the bar to hospitality and entertainment company SBE Group in 2006. SBE paid close to $10 million for a 75 percent stake, and Cooley stayed on as president, according to reports. SBE Group planned to open additional Abbey bars in popular gay destinations across the country, but those plans never panned out. Cooley bought the bar back in 2015, a year ahead of its 25-year-anniversary.
During those nine years, many people in the LGBTQ+ community said it was a turning point for the Abbey. They noticed a drastic shift in people coming to the bar. Heterosexual patrons started to show up in droves, imposing their privilege and pushing LGBTQ+ customers to the sides.
Management wasn’t bothered by the change because, at the end of the night, sales from the new heterosexual customers had increased.
Cooley stayed the course on that shift when he bought the business back.
In 2016, The Abbey expanded to occupy the neighboring parcel to the north, rebranding the property as The Chapel at The Abbey, which caters to the club scene.