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Exterior of The Abbey in West Hollywood

The Abbey: The Story of an L.A. Icon


Elina Shatkin

When David Cooley decided to open The Abbey in 1991, the bar scene in West Hollywood looked much different than it does now. Cooley, an Ohioan by way of Las Vegas, moved to the city in 1981, at the start of the AIDS crisis. "When I was coming to bars on Santa Monica Boulevard, it was not as open," he says. "There were no front patios where you could have a cigarette. It was all behind closed doors and through back alleys."