Brad Pitt and George Clooney Asked to Help Save Laguna Gay Bar


Efforts to save the cornerstone of Laguna Beach’s gay nightlife, the historic Boom Boom Room and Coast Inn hotel, have officially gone Hollywood.

Activist Fred Karger, who has spearheaded the efforts to keep the property preserved for the coastal town’s gay community, has taken out an ad in Daily Variety with Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Gentry.

VarietyadThe ad appeals to Brad Pitt and George Clooney, once thought to be interested in buying the property, to help save it.

Said the ad: “Now we are appealing to both of you to buy our 60-year-old landmark before it is converted into a boutique hotel…Both of you are true leaders in human and civil rights. Over 100 years of gay history that the Boom represents is a stake in Laguna Beach.”

According to CBS, “The Boom Boom Room is reportedly the oldest continuously operating gay bar in the United States, and keeping it would be preserving the history of the community, Karger said. Once the haunt of celebrities such as Rock Hudson and Paul Lynde, the Boom Boom Room was slated to close as early as last fall, but activists have fought against it…The origins of the Boom Boom Room date to the late 1920s, when Carolyn Burris, granddaughter of the owner of the Coast Inn, persuaded John “Pappy” Smith to open a tropical-themed bar called the Seven Seas. The Seven Seas became frequented by families and the military. The name Boom Boom Room, according to Burris, came from sailors and Marines who used the term as slang for sex. The Smith family sold the bar to Sidney Bryant in the mid-1970s, and it quickly became a gathering place for gays.”

SavetheboomEfforts to save the Boom Boom Room have been underway since June 2006 when it was purchased by Steven F. Udvar-Hazy. After collecting approximately 6,000 signatures from area residents and supporters, the property was saved last August when Udvar-Hazy offered a one-year lease. That lease comes up in September.

Said Karger of the Variety ad: “When we first found out that our landmark bar was about to close, we got organized and decided to fight its closure. The landmark Boom Boom Room was set to close last Labor Day (2006), but Mr. Udvar-Hazy was very helpful and gave us a one year reprieve. With Labor Day 2007 rapidly approaching, we figured we’d see if these great stars would come help the gay community down here in Laguna.”

Added Mayor Gentry: “The Gay Community of Laguna Beach is being thrown out into the Pacific Ocean and we are looking for some help from our friends. We have been talking to lots of potential buyers over the past several months and we thought we would try this bold approach to appeal to these thoughtful and caring stars.”

In January, a nearby gay-owned restaurant, Woody’s, was sold, further eating away at Laguna Beach’s gay nightlife.

Though it may be a longshot in terms of actual success with the Pitt/Clooney team, the ad has certainly already generated enough publicity to draw other potential buyers to the rescue.


  1. Rodolfo says

    The ad may be slightly more effective if they hadn’t used the most unflattering photographs of either man I’ve ever seen.

  2. primo says

    There are many more important things on Brad and George’s agendas than helping out an old gaybar extend its shelf life.


  3. Luke says

    Looks like Laguna is doomed for gays and lesbians who want a safe spot to hang out on the beach in. In the old days, 1970’s,early ’80s, this town had it going on and had more gays per capita than just about any city in the world, and it stood out for being a Democratic stronghold in the over the top Right wing Orange Curtain, with its regressive politics and attitudes. Then AIDS came along and devastated the whole area, and that was the beginning of the end IMO. Now that the artists, and other creative types have been priced out, and the focus on the uber rich, and totally boring crowd, time to say good bye, even though, I moved from the area years ago, I still love it, and I don’t think Brad or George have the time or a vested interest in saving the place, since a gay bar closing isn’t excatly the same as the suffering around the globe they are trying to get rid of.

  4. griffin1573 says

    It’s a bar.
    It has no special claim to historical occurances.
    It was’nt the “stonewall” and it’s claim to fame is a couple of “b” listers and closet cas’es had a few drinks and may have gotten picked up there.
    Do we not have more important things to fight for?
    It’s a buisness…if the buisness was viable it would remain.
    If theres buisness enough in Laguna to justifiy a replacement bar…it will open.
    That’s buisness and that’s life in a consumer society.Times change.
    Having a couple of drinks is not a historical moment that we should rally around to protect.

  5. Gitai says

    Wow, I bet it’ll be sad for all the gays when the new Persian owners turn it into a new Club Persh.

  6. yoshi says

    “The Gay Community of Laguna Beach is being thrown out into the Pacific Ocean…”

    Um… ok … and you are on our side mayor?

    I have an idea – ‘how bout buy the place? Can’t convince a bank that’s a viable enough business for a loan? Then perhaps its better off as a hotel.