Efforts Underway to Save Laguna’s Boom Boom Room


The centerpiece of Laguna Beach’s gay community, the longstanding Boom Boom Room nightclub, will close in September when its lease runs out unless a petition drive by Laguna resident Fred Karger can save the business.

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, one of Forbes’ wealthiest Americans, bought up a swath of property last fall that included the Boom and other area businesses. He plans to renovate the property, and the Boom Boom is not likely to renew its lease.

Karger hopes that a list of 5,000 signatures will be enough to convice Udvar-Hazy that the club and adjoinging Coast Inn are essential to Laguna’s gay community. Said Karger to the Laguna Beacy Coastline Pilot: In Santa Barbara, first the gay clubs went, then the gay population. I’d hate to see the same thing happen here.”

Patrick O’Loughlin, the fourth owner of what some say is one of the five oldest gay bars in the country, says he understands the importance of the property as a symbol of Laguna’s gay past: “I’ve been honored to be involved with it. It’s a powerful thing to hear the stories about the place…I know dozens of people who grew up in Orange County, and the Boom Boom Room was the first bar they went to. It has always been a safe place to go if you’re gay.”

There were rumors last November that Brad Pitt and George Clooney had bought the property along with Udvar-Hazy and planned to turn it into a chain of boutique hotels. Turns out the Udvar-Hazy part of that rumor was true.

Last Call at the Boom Boom Room Looms [coastline pilot]
(via curbed la)

You may have missed
The Friendship That Never Went Away [tr]
Pitt and Clooney Buy Laguna Beach’s Boom Boom Room — Not [tr]


  1. Joe says

    The Boom has been dying for years! Laguna has become too crowded and expensive to the be the off-the-beaten-trail gay hangout that it once was. This nostalgic need for time to turn backwards is sweet but ignores the realities of that property (on the beach and in need of renovation).

  2. says

    One of the first bars I went to when I came out in the early 90’s was the BOOM BOOM ROOM, it was a fun place. ahhhh those were the good ol’ days.

    Hope they can save the bar.

    Anybody from SoCal remember Newport Station on Thursday nights?

  3. Brett says

    I remember going there in 1978 with my 1st boyfriend. I was very young, just coming out, fresh from the Mid West, and loved the place. Fast forward 26 years… my now partner & I stayed there during a vacation to SoCal…still a bit sleezy, but fun! I wish them luck!

  4. Sean H. says

    Anyone taking guesses where the next “in” gay hot spots (east/west coast) will be?

    Our community seems to have a skill for taking things and turning them into gold. Unfortunately, at our own expense.

  5. FunMe says

    I was just at Laguna 2 weekend ago.

    Unfortunately, that place was close to empty. It’s missing lots of young people. You see what’s happening is that the young are not moving there because real estate have gone SKY ROCKET making it harder for people to even rent.

    This is a MAJOR issue affecting southern California. I really hope the place stays gay.

    If that rich greedy The Abbey owner from West Hollywood and the greedy gay who does the White Party in Palm Springs would get together and buy that place, that would be something. But these 2 are more concerned about $$$ then just gay issues. And two think, the White Party gets way too much money that all stay in Jeffrey’s pocket with no charity money going out.

  6. says

    I live in Riverside, about an hour north west of Laguna and frequent the Boom as often as possible. The night begins at the tres swank Woody’s On The Beach about a block down (with an equally exquisite view of the ocean) and around 11:30 the place clears, herding en masse to The Boom. I’ve spent a couple birthdays with the Woody’s/Boom one-two combo. I met several nice boys. My roomie took home a porn star (unbeknownst to us at the time). The memory juts out particularly because I had to drive home, seething awkwardly in the front seat, stealing glances at the cavorters through the rear-view mirror. I took a friend of mine there for the first time somewhat recently. He suffered a concussion when he slipped down the stairs towards the dance floor after being lured by the first notes of Kelly’s “Since You Been Gone”. Needless to say he doesn’t remember much of that night, but I reminisce enough for the both of us. I’ll miss that place. Anyone know how I can get my signature on that petition?

  7. Glenn says

    I’m a little sad to hear it’s closing, I’ve had some memorable times at the Boom–that said, it’s time to move on, its heyday is long gone. Come out to Tucson, we’re all beach, unfortunately no ocean, but we have a very progressive pro-gay community, and reasonable spanish colonial real estate.

  8. Stephen says

    About ten years ago, during my wild & crazy coming out year in L.A., my friend and I went down to the beach in Laguna and ended up at the Boom (of course). I got pretty tipsy and was propositioned by some sleazy arab guy who turned out to be a local pimp.

    The guy bought me a couple of cocktails while trying to convince me to come to work for him. He went into great detail about how much money I could make and what kinds of things I’d have to do, etc. Despite the fact that I had massive student loans coming due, I politely declined. He kept pressing me and I kept saying no (but I have to admit, I was enjoying the conversation).

    Finally he called one of his “boys” over, but this guy was no boy. He was a big ol’ musclebound MAN. The pimp introduced us and when I went to offer a handshake the muscle guy immediately took my hand and put it on his big hard cock which was straining through his jeans. Next thing I know, we are in the club’s storage room and I’m flat on my back on top of some washer/dryer combination, with my pants around my ankles.

    Well…you can imagine the rest. But needless to say, it was HOT! One of the best nights of my young gay life.

    If I had the money, I’d buy the Boom Boom Room and erect a monument…maybe a marble washer/dryer combo.

  9. Shaun says

    Next gay hotspot? Chicago is definetly up and coming. Not only is it the most gay friendly city in the midwest, they’re hosting the gay games next month. Honestly, sometimes I wish all the coasties could just come and see everything Chicago has in terms of the LGBT community. We’re severely underrated.

  10. Brett says

    Hey Shaun. After being gone for 28 years (see previous post) I’m planning on moving back to Chicago w/my partner. We love the city (and the Cubs) and New York has worn us down a bit. See ya at Sidetracks one of these days =-)

  11. Mac says

    New York City is definately in need of some type of overhaul. So hard to find the men among the girls (if you know what I mean). Even the Eagle has become a haven for “the girls” wanting men. Which takes away from the sexy vibe it once had.

    Why can’t gay men cut down on the hair product, perfumes, A&F wardrobe, Britney Spears eyewear, etc.. and simply be men?

  12. Eddy says

    Ahhhh, I hope it doesn’t close. I grew up in the OC and the Boom Boom Room was the first gay bar I went to as an OUT gay man, back in ’95. My cousin bought me a lap dance from one of their dancers. It was a very different club back then. I did stop by about two years ago and it was filled with families eating lunch and both bartenders straight!!

  13. Malena Tolley says

    I must be getting OLD!!!!! I remember the Boom from the early 80’s and Newport Station too – the Station was hot! How about the Little Shrimp? Was a young fresh thing then and all the wealthy old trolls from Palm Springs would come down to their favorite hunting grounds and then take their catch back to their desert hidey holes. PS rocked too!

  14. Kyan (the "original" one) Miller says

    Anyone out there remember me, [the original] Kyan? I went to the Boom Boom Room and Newport Station in the late 70s, had great times at both and other OC and LA clubs at the time (remember Studio 1?). Anyone remember going to Bob M.’s house in South Laguna who had the pool and all kinds of guys around especially on the weekends, or going to Bert’s (Bud’s?) place in Laguna — he had the bunk beds in his downstairs for male house guests. I’ve returned to Orange County after being back east for many years, am looking for my old friends to hang out and reminisce with. I miss the good old days which for me began in ’77. I was also the security guy who sat on top of the ladder at the entrance to Oscar’s Wilde in West Hollywood when it first opened in ’87. (Those were my “drifting” days, I’m now in the legal field.) I’d love to reconnect and hang out with old friends, including at the Boom Boom Room. Where can I sign that petition?

  15. Kyan Miller says

    It WOULD make financial sense to renew the lease if the Boom were updated — while still preserving its historic flavor — to the point where it became a major draw for the greater So. California — and global — gay community again.

    I envision it as the place to be, with high-tech upgrading and innovative ideas like, e.g., an exotic aquarium built into a wall adjacent to the dance floor, a LUSH tropical rooftop area for dancing under the stars, new, exciting neon lighting and laser light shows, a new and exciting Vegas-like neon Boom Boom Room logo out front, a parking area to give a large number of patrons easier access, an internet cafe area, a gift shop, a new stage for higher profile acts like Kathy Griffin and gorgeous young men staffing the place. There are so very many great ideas that I’m not even thinking of that WOULD WORK TO RESURRECT THE BOOM and make it VERY profitable and THE place to be in the minds of — yes — the GLOBAL gay community!

    I mean, WHY NOT? It COULD HAPPEN! I mean, we could be looking back a year from now and IT COULD HAVE ALREADY HAPPENED!!!

    Fred, my talents are few but I believe the Boom must be reborn and I would love to give you a verbal pitch of some ideas on the phone or in person to help your vision to save the Boom.

    With a $50 billion annual gay marketing potential the new owners should want to sit up and listen if the ideas for rebirth were there.

    And maybe members of the gay community are the ONLY ones who know what will work and we should be collaborating and putting these ideas together.

    Fred, let us help!!!!

  16. caesar says

    I’ve been going to Boom for about 1.4yrs and i loved it…. nice peeps although i felt like fresh meat on the cell block… with a few cocktails i didn’t care and dance my toosh off… met many dates, etc..
    WHAT’S THIS I HEAR ABOUT BOOM REOPENING hit me up at surfnskate2004 at yahoo dot com