The Abbey Food & Bar and The Chapel at The Abbey, iconic LGBTQ+ establishments in West Hollywood, have been sold to tech and hotel entrepreneur Tristan Schukraft, according to a joint statement from Schukraft and current owner and founder David Cooley.
“The Abbey is more than just a bar. It’s been a sanctuary for the LGBTQ+ community through tough and good times alike, from the AIDS Crisis to the fight for Marriage Equality and Transgender Rights. I’m proud that The Abbey has been a place for support, unity, activism, and celebration,” Cooley said in the joint statement. “I’ve spent half my life here, meeting incredible people and seeing how The Abbey has been a place of happiness and acceptance for so many. Now, it’s time for someone new to lead.”
“I’m excited to build on the legacy that David Cooley created over the last 33 years at The Abbey. David built a small coffee shop on an unknown side street, into one of the most famous gay bars in the country, if not the world. This is both an honor and a significant responsibility,” Schukraft said in a statement. “I plan to respect and honor The Abbey’s history while bringing new ideas that reflect our evolving LGBTQ+ community and my personal approach to hospitality. We’re not just maintaining a legacy business and an international landmark; we’re adding to the future of LGBTQ+ nightlife.”
Cooley had high praise for Schukraft, the founder and CEO of MISTER, the largest telemedicine provider of free online HIV care including PrEP in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
“Tristan has been coming here for years,” Cooley continued. “He gets what The Abbey means to people. I trust him to look after our community, our guests, and our team. Plus, I’m sure he's going to throw some great parties.”
In June, Schukraft announced the acquisition of The Trust, a boutique hotel and restaurant on Condado Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as the shuttered LGBTQ+ nightclub Circo.
“I am excited to help reinvigorate the LGBTQ scene in Puerto Rico while building upon the legacy of these two amazing venues,” Schukraft said in a statement at the time. “Our team is committed to taking The Tryst and Circo to the next level, giving plenty of reasons for visitors and locals alike to come out and play, all day and all night.”
“When we moved to our current location, I had an opportunity to do something different,” Cooley wrote for The Advocate. “We had an outdoor patio that was open to the street and adjacent to a park. People could see us as they went by, day or night. That was a radical idea for a gay bar at that time.”
Cooley and Schukraft said they expect the sale to be finalized within the next few months.