The Abbey and its staff are the subject of a new E! reality show, premiering this Sunday night.
Courtesy The Abbey
Though Cooley gave up half of the Abbey in a much-touted partnership with the SBE Nightlife Group nine years ago, he bought it all back last July. The partnership didn’t change much (SBE were in charge mostly of back-of-the-house business stuff) but ever since he took it all back, the place does feel more homey. Cooley has always been a very welcoming and inclusive proprietor.
“I always listen to the people and I always had a philosophy that was ‘no velvet ropes,” he explains. “It’s a gay bar. I love that it’s mostly outside and open. It’s Southern California. So many other gay bars were behind closed doors in WeHo. I wanted to be open and be proud of who we were.”
Originally from Ohio, Cooley went to college in Las Vegas, where he got his degree in hotel administration. He moved to L.A. in his early 20s and worked in finance, then got a job in banking at Wells Fargo. One of his bank clients owned the Living Room on La Brea, one of L.A.’s coolest original coffeehouses. Taking note of its success and the growing caffeine trend happening in L.A. in the early ’90s, Cooley decided to open his own spot.
– Lina Lecaro RR-Magazine