Eagle LA Leather Bar Launches GoFundMe Campaign to Stay Open
Eagle LA has joined a growing group of LGBTQ bars and clubs using crowdfunding in their struggle to stay open as the financial woes of COVID-19 have forced other queer spaces to close their doors for good.
The East Hollywood Leather Bar on Santa Monica Boulevard is a historic venue that has served the gay community for over 50 years in four different incarnations: The Shed, The Outcast, Gauntlet II, and Eagle LA, which opened in 2006.
Eagle LA has been closed since March due to COVID-19 and a mandatory closure of bars and nightclubs.
Eagle LA owner Charlie Matula and Eric Pruitt, the bar’s resident DJ, want to raise $ 240,000 with their GoFundMe campaign. The funds will be used to help pay for business loans, utilities and other expenses incurred as they squat and try to bypass the mandatory closure of Los Angeles County bars and nightclubs during COVID-19.
The campaign launched on Friday and has already raised over $ 75,000.
“Since 2006, Eagle LA has prided itself on being a haven for the LGBTQI + community to come together and express its diversity without judgment,” the post said.
The bar also prides itself on its open door policy and being a neighborhood gathering place, the post said.
Many Los Angeles area LGBTQ bars and clubs have closed due to financial difficulties during the pandemic.
Also, earlier this month, Oil Can Harry’s, the oldest gay club in Los Angeles, have announced that they will not reopen after the pandemic.
The Eagle LA does not want its name added to the list of queer closed spaces.
“When COVID hit in March and closed our doors, we crouched down and did everything we could to stay in business,” the GoFundMe post said. “Surviving these devastating financial difficulties has been extremely difficult. We didn’t expect the forced shutdowns to last that long.
“We have already lost too many historic places as a result of this pandemic,” said GoFundMe’s post, “which is changing the face of our community.”