How an Iconic L.A. Gay Bar Forges Inclusive Thanksgiving Traditions

The Abbey offers a safe space to celebrate the holiday

The Abbey in West Hollywood might be thought of most as a raucous party spot or boozy Sunday brunch destination, but it’s also served as a sort of informal cultural center for L.A.’s gay and ally community for nearly 30 years. And that takes on special significance at the holidays.


“When I opened the Abbey, the LGBT community was not as accepted as it is today,” owner David Cooley says. “The Abbey is open on Thanksgiving and Christmas and offers a special holiday menu because some people need a place where they feel welcomed for who they are during the holidays.”

The restaurant opens at noon on Thanksgiving day, offering a set menu with all the elements of a classic, nostalgic meal–turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pie–and a few elevated touches, for an accessible price of $27 per person.

“Many LGBT people are still alienated from their families for simply choosing to live their truth and be the person they were born to be,” Cooley says. “Thanksgiving is about gathering with friends and family. There are families you are born into and families you choose. When you come to the Abbey and we’ll be your friends and family.”

Dinner will continue to be served until 1:30 a.m., with the vibe taking on more of a dance-party atmosphere as the evening continues. A special Thanksgiving-themed drink, Cooley’s Cranberry Cocktail, will be flowing throughout the night.

“Even today, there are many parts of the United States that are not safe for LGBT people,” Cooley notes. “I’m thankful for the renewed sense of togetherness and activism in the LGBT community.”

The Abbey, 692 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood. 

RELATED: The Story of How West Hollywood Came to Symbolize LGBTQ L.A.

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