Los Angeles received news that legendary gay bar Fautline could be the latest establishment casualty claimed by the shut downs caused by the pandemic. The popular bar has served the LGBTQ+ community for over 26 years and for months Fautline lovers have been in the dark about the status of the space.
A local website reported that the new co-owner of the building, Armando Cabana, confirmed the bar is “long gone” from the location and he purchased the building after the previous owners just “left it behind.” Cabana also shared that no one wanted the iconic Faultline sign so it was discarded last week.
Faultline addressed the inaccuracies in this story by declaring that while the physical location has closed, Faultline Bar will be returning and is working on continuing to serve the LGBTQ+ community.
Faultline has not returned several requests for comment.
Since it was founded in 1994, Faultline was well-known for its indoor and outdoor bars with a large outdoor patio area. It was popular for its mixture of themed nights, drag performances, go-go boys, DJs, live performances, outdoor parking lot events, and a long-standing Sunday beer bust destination. The space was a safe haven for many, primarily the leather, kink, and fetish community where homoerotic art lined its walls and gay porn was played on the screens nightly.
In the 1960s, the building, located at 4216 Melrose Avenue, was owned by none other than Judy Garland. In 1963 Garland placed her signature on a concrete slab located behind the bar. At that time, the location was a small local bar known as The Red Rouge. The Red Rouge was owned by her and her then husband, Cid Lift. This symbol literally and figuratively cemented the space as an LGBTQ+ historic site.
From 1974-1988 the Stud inhabited the space, a true denim and leather bar where cruising was part of the gay experience.
In 1988 it became The Zone, and in 1989 it morphed into Griff’s after it was bought by Griff Griffin, a member of the Satyrs MC, the gay motorcycle club, who died in 1993.
Shortly after Faultline Bar was founded by Shawn Farnsworth. Since then It has changed ownership over the past several years. Jorge Usatorres purchased the bar in 2015 and then sold it in 2016.
The last co-owner of Faultline, Ruby Nuno, purchased it from Usatorres with the intent on respecting and building upon its gay tradition.
The rest is history.
According to the local website, the building will no longer be a queer space as the new co-owner plans to “turn it into something special, funky and loungy, where people can come and chill out.”
The plan for the new space includes partnering with a nearby cannabis dispensary to offer a place where people can visit after getting their daily dose and have a cappuccino or some food and listen to some good music. The website reports a shower has been added to the space and a dry sauna will go up next to the men’s restroom. The owners are considering other ideas, from yoga classes, piano lessons, to a cafe with other open possibilities.
There’s obviously no clear direction and it is obvious that the plan is to erase the LGBTQ+ history that is this space.
Cabana said to the site:
It’s not going to be gay anymore, but this can be the kind of space where you can throw any kind of party you want. I go where there is good music and good people. Whatever you choose sexually or whatever gender you are, I’m fine with all that. It is what it is. I just like good vibes. This will be [a] great place to chill. Low key.
It truly is an end of a major era in the Los Angeles gay scene for this location, one that is part of the queer experience for so many in Southern California.
But it will be exciting to see what the next chapter will look like for Faultline.
In late March 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, Fautline turned to crowdfunding to try to keep the business going. Their GoFundMe unfortunately did not even reach $2,000 of it’s $20,000 goal.
Meanwhile spaces such as Akbar have received an incredible amount of support, raising over $200,000 in donations. Downtown L.A.’s New Jalisco Bar, is still seeking support to keep its doors open. The Eagle L.A., another leather bar, is also seeking donations to help stay afloat as it is on the brink of closing due to the pandemic–they have already reached nearly $75,000 of their goal.
A handful of other West Hollywood and Los Angeles LGBTQ+ spaces have shuttered permanently because of lack of support, not to mention the major gay hubs around the globe that have been affected by further shut downs and restrictions on bars and nightclubs.
What are your memories of the old Faultline?