Woody’s Shutters, Further Limiting Laguna Beach’s Gay Appeal

WoodysWoody’s at the Beach, a decade-old Laguna Beach restaurant that was the most recent in a string of gay-owned businesses to occupy a prime lot on that town’s Coast Highway, has been sold and will close on February 3rd.

Woody’s was a cornerstone in the gay nightlife of Laguna Beach, just down the street from the Boom Boom Room nightclub, which was barely saved by a group of community activists last year when they convinced the owner of the lease on the property to allow them to run it for another year. When the lease ends on the Boom Boom room this September, its future is uncertain as well.

Joel Herzer, the owner of Woody’s, says the restaurant was sold in order to focus on two other restaurants in the Palm Springs area.

Can Laguna Beach’s reputation as a gay destination, survive the shuttering of its cornerstone gay clubs and businesses. Fred Karger, who led the movement to save the Boom, thinks so. He tells the Coastline Pilot: There is a misconception that there are no gay people left here. We have a tremendous gay population in Orange County. The population has shifted, and many are moving to Aliso Viejo and Laguna Hills, because they are no longer unwelcome.”

Still, whether or not Laguna can retain its appeal nationally remains to be seen. Karger says the new owners of Woody’s, who will operate a Mexican restaurant in its stead, will “cater to the community.”

Woody’s sold to Mexican dining chain [coastline pilot] (via Curbed L.A.)

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  1. NOT FOR YOU says

    Everything changes and so does this town. This is no longer the quiet beach town it was when I got here. (This is a resounding sentiment among Laguna residents).

    Just like everything esle gay the 15 year old girls are taking it over and making it their market. Thanks to the show the town is now perpetually invaded by wannabe twits from the 909 sporting fake Louis Vuitton.

    The allure the town that attracted the show has now been destroyed. Perfect example of observer’s paradox I guess. This’s town’s main export is now an at home do-it-yourself whore-skank makeover kit.

  2. says

    I was taken aback when The Boom’s fate was secured, but I’m sincerely saddened about the demise of Woody’s. I spent many a great weekends there, met some charming people, shared a couple of amazing birthdays with close friends, and even had a romance or two. I’m going to have to make it out there before the doors close for good. I’m going to miss rubbing elbows with fellow smokers on the crowded porch during the cold season when they seal off the formal patio. *sigh*

  3. Randalf P says

    Sad that the affluent community of homos and high powered lesbians cannot support their own. Any number of men who live on the hill that overlook Woody’s could afford to buy it and make it a great gay destination. It is a historic sight, home to the Little Shrimp, which was gay since post WWII. You can still hear Martha Raye laughing on that patio. Pity.

  4. Steve says

    It has nothing to do with being unable to support the gay community in Laguna Beach. Joel (Woody’s owner) chose NOT to find a gay owner(s) he made the decision to sell to a straight buyer. He didn’t tell his affluent community it was even on the market. He sold us out plain and simple. He makes this statement in a OCRegister article.

  5. Charles n Oklahoma says

    Joel did nothing wrong millions at stake and the gripers come along. If you want another woody’s in Laguna Beach go and buy the name and open one!!! put your money where your mouth is. I am proud of Woodys a success two onsite guys build an wonderful place to have 5 o’clock cocktails everyday, thanks Brent & Joel your the best of memories of Laguna Beach. Can’t wait to see what you do next I’ll be there :-)