West Hollywood watering holes The Abbey and the Chapel have been sold to businessman and former West Hollywood resident Tristan Schukraft, according to a joint statement about the sale agreement from him and Abbey owner and founder David Cooley.
The purchase price was not mentioned.
The sale came four months after the property was listed, but Schukraft said he had spoken with Cooley before the business went on the market.
The statement, which also was shared on social media, said the night spots will stay open, the management team will stay in place, including general manager Todd Barnes and assistant general manager Kiki Farahat, and the “schedule of events and parties will all continue as planned.”
“The Abbey is more than just a bar. It’s been a sanctuary for the LGBTQ+ community through tough and good times alike,” Cooley said in announcing the sale.
It’s time for someone else to carry the torch, Cooley said.
“Tristan has been coming here for years,” Cooley said. “He gets what The Abbey means to people. I trust him to look after our community, our guests, and our team. Plus, I’m sure he’s going to throw some great parties.”
Schukraft said it was “honor and a significant responsibility” to buy both businesses and properties.
“I plan to respect and honor the Abbey’s history while bringing new ideas that reflect our evolving LGBTQ+ community and my personal approach to hospitality,” he said.
Cooley and Schukraft said they expect the sale to be finalized in early 2024.
Tristan Schukraft, who lost a bid for West Hollywood City Council in 2013, founded and is CEO of Mistr, a telemedicine service that provides free online sexual health care, including STI testing and PrEP.
Schukraft, who lives in Puerto Rico, is a newcomer to the nightlife arena.
Earlier this year, Schukraft bought The Trust, a boutique hotel and restaurant on Condado Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as the shuttered gay nightclub Circo.
“I am excited to help reinvigorate the LGBTQ scene in Puerto Rico while building upon the legacy of these two amazing venues,” Schukraft said in a statement at the time. “Our team is committed to taking The Tryst and Circo to the next level, giving plenty of reasons for visitors and locals alike to come out and play, all day and all night.”
Cooley opened the Abbey as a coffee shop in 1991 on Robertson Boulevard, just south of Santa Monica Boulevard. Cooley has said that he never drank coffee.
Cooley moved the business across the street to its current location and expanded the initial 1,100-square-foot hangout into the adjoining property to the south.
Cooley sold a majority of his stake in The Abbey to hospitality and entertainment company SBE Group in 2006. Cooley stayed on as President.
SBE Group planned to open additional Abbey bars in popular gay destinations across the country, but those plans never materialized.
Cooley bought the Abbey back in 2015, a year shy of its 25th anniversary.
In 2016, Cooley bought the property to the north, Here Lounge, and opened The Chapel, a nightclub expansion.
Today, both properties make a 14,000-square-foot behemoth restaurant, bar, and nightclub.