With the Opening of The Chapel and the Abbey turning 25, GED Magazine sat down with owner, David Cooley for chat about old and new and keeping it fresh.

GED: With the Abbey turning 25, what made you want to start another club in The Chapel?

David Cooley: Over the past 25 years, I have renovated and expanded many times.   When my former neighbor at the Here Lounge said he was looking to close his business, it seemed like a good opportunity to do something both totally new and a natural extension of The Abbey.

GED: Here Lounge was wildly popular. What type of vibe should we expect from The Chapel? How is its identity different from The Abbey or the former Here Lounge?

DC: Most people will not recognize any elements from the Here Lounge.  We added two major bars, leveled off their tiered patio and create a completely different environment. The Chapel at The Abbey is a completely separate venue from The Abbey, but it was designed so that the two venues would seamlessly flow together with a cohesive aesthetic.  The Chapel continues The Abbey’s church theme, with dark stained wood throughout, gothic lighting features, religious and medieval-themed statues, a DJ booth inspired by a pulpit, and stained glass windows.  The dance floor has state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems – perfect to keep the crowds dancing, host screenings, and feature live performances.  The Chapel also boasts five large screen televisions, perfect for watching sporting events, award shows, music videos or election returns.  The dance floor features two booths in the heart of the action.

The Chapel has two bars… overlooking the patio, the 40-foot “Steeple Bar” features seven bar stations and two draft beer towers. The “Chapel Bar”, meanwhile, overlooks the dance floor with three bar stations.  Both bars are covered in copper, which will weather and patina over time.  The Chapel will serve over one-hundred craft cocktails similar to those at The Abbey and a rotating selection of five California craft beers on draft. The patio at The Chapel embraces the same great indoor-outdoor lifestyle that has helped to make The Abbey so popular.  With lush greenery and statues throughout the space, The Chapel’s patio has about a dozen moveable tables for guests.  The patio is flanked by seven booths, each with its own fireplace and dancer stages between each of the tables.

chapel-cooley-ged2-750GED: Gay nightlife is ever-changing, especially in West Hollywood. How do you keep it fresh and exciting for your patrons?

DC: You keep things fresh and exciting by doing new, fresh and exciting things.  I’m told The Chapel is the first brand new nightclub to open in West Hollywood in a decade.  The lighting and sound system on the dance floor is probably the best in the city right now.   We designed the patio and dance floor to have natural stages for our dancers.   It is really exciting to walk into The Chapel and see so many talented, good-looking guys dancing above a packed gay crowd in West Hollywood.   Stay tuned for more news in the coming months.  We’ll be launching a lot of new weekly parties in the coming the months that are unlike anything in West Hollywood right now.

GED: Did your partnership with SBE for many years help or hurt The Abbey in the long run?

DC: I learned a lot from my partnership with SBE that has ultimately made the business stronger.  With The Chapel open and new reality show set to air this summer on E!, The Abbey is more popular than ever.

GED: You have raised lots of money for charity and certainly given a lot back to your community. How important is it to you to actually be involved in the community and give back?

DC: It feels great to give money back to the community that has supported me all these years.  The City of West Hollywood and the broader LGBT community of Los Angeles and the world have so many great organizations that I like to support.   As an example, our first event at The Chapel was an official fundraiser for the Hillary Clinton Campaign, featuring a DJ set by Moby and remarks by Jon Favreau, former Director of Speechwriting for President Obama.  We had a great turnout and raised a lot of money for the campaign.

GED: Can you give some details on the new Bottega Louie?

DC: Bottega Louie will be opening in West Hollywood on Santa Monica Blvd. (its second location), a world-class restaurant, market and patisserie.  Bottega Louie West Hollywood will be an 8,900 square foot space with an estimated 200 seats and a large outdoor patio for dining.  The new restaurant will have all the same elements as the original, including a patisserie, market, full bar, kitchen and dining area.  The menus at Bottega Louie in West Hollywood will mirror the original downtown locations including breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch along with beer, wine and cocktails.

GED: Everyone has a hidden talent. What’s yours?

DC: I was a backup dancer for Jennifer Lopez at a charity event.

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The Chapel is located at 696 N. Robertson Blvd, West Hollywood, CA. You can find them on Facebook as TheChapelWeHo.

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