Beloved Faultline Bar located at 4216 Melrose Avenue, has closed for good after serving members of the LGBT+ community for 26 years.
Founded in 1994, the iconic gay space was known for its indoor and outdoor bars with a large outdoor patio area. It featured a mix of themed nights, go-go boys, DJs, live performances, outdoor parking lot events, and a long-standing Sunday beer bust destination known to attract upwards of 600 participants.
Its closure makes it the latest queer space to flatline during the Coronavirus pandemic.
New co-owner, who identified himself as Armando Cabana, confirms the Faultline’s closure and says he has big plans for the historical space that was once mainly populated by members of the LGBT leather, kink and fetish community.
“Faultline Bar is long gone,” Cabana told WEHO TIMES. “The place was up for grabs. The owners just left it and it was a blessing in disguise. I have a good vision for the space. I’m taking my time, and little by little, I plan to turn it into something special, funky and loungy, where people can come and chill out.”
Cabana says the name for the bar could be The Melrose Home, but that name is a work in progress and could change as he develops the space.
“Part of the plan is to partner with the cannabis dispensary located across the street and offer a space where people can go there and then come here to hang out, maybe have a cappuccino, enjoy some good music and have some positive vibes,” he said.
A tour around the space shows the redevelopment is well underway. The homoerotic art is gone and a football game is playing on a TV screen that once featured hardcore gay porn. The DJ booth is gone. There is a punching bag on the floor and workout equipment as you enter the indoor bar. A shower has been added to the space, and a dry sauna will go up next to the men’s restroom, if all goes according to plan.
Other ideas circling around the new space range from yoga classes, piano lessons, to a cafe with other open possibilities.
There are only a few signs of what once was. The heart rate monitor symbol is still at the side of the building and the Faultline photo booth is still located inside the bar with the bar’s logo on the side. The fire pit is currently covered up and the bars are intact.
The Faultline Bar sign at the building was removed months ago, sparking rumors that the place was lost. No one expressed any interest in the sign, so it was discarded.
“If you had come here last week, I would have given you the actual sign,” Cabana said. “I think it’s historical but no one wanted it. This place has a lot of history. It was once owned by Judy Garland.”
And speaking of Judy Garland, according to the Los Feliz Ledger, the Faultline space was a venue called the Red Rouge in the 1960s, owned by the gay icon and her then husband, Sid Luft. Legend has it that as the concrete floor was being laid down, the star put her handprint and signed her name on the cement slab behind the bar back in 1963—however, If Judy’s autograph and hand print exist today, we were not able to find them during our tour of the bar.
“I’ve been club promoting in Miami for 15 years and I want to bring a funky space where people can come here and maybe get piano lessons, stream original content and be real,” Cabana stated. “With the recent shutdown during COVID, I can take my time and come up with ideas. I want to offer a space where people can chill out. I just want to have a place for cool people to hang out in.”
The space will be open to everyone and will no longer be exclusively gay, or cater to the gay leather community like it has for the past 26 years. Armando says he hopes people will take advantage of the space and rent it for private parties if they wish to relive the Faultline experience.
“It’s not going to be gay anymore, but this can be the kind of space where you can throw any kind of party you want,” he said. “I go where there is good music and good people. Whatever you choose sexually or whatever gender you are, I’m fine with all that. It is what it is. I just like good vibes. This will be great place to chill. Low key.”
The Faultline’s website does not mention its closure.
“We will be back soon,” reads a message on their home page. “Follow our social media platforms for news and updates. We are ALL in this together, please stay safe and take care of each other.”
The bar’s current official social media platforms do not mention its closure either, not even after rumors have been circulating that it was closed months ago.
It’s business as usual on their Instagram account where a photo was posted today showing a packed bar during its heyday.
The Faultline Bar was founded by Shawn Farnsworth. It was The Stud, a Levi/leather cruise bar from 1974 to 1988, and then morphed into other gay spaces like that include Griff’s, before it became the legendary Faultline Bar in 1994.
It has exchanged hands of ownership over the past several years. Jorge Usatorres purchased the bar in 2015 and sold it to Ruby De Fresno / Ruby Nuno, the most recent co-owner of the bar. She said she purchased it from Usatorres with the intent on respecting and building upon its gay tradition.
“We want to make sure it continues,” she said. “We didn’t want to see the Faultline go the way of so many other iconic gay bars in Los Angeles.”
The details surrounding the closure are not yet known.
For information on renting the space, call 305-890-6159
Editors note: The article was updated to reflect that the Faultline Bar was once was The Stud, a Levi/leather cruise bar from 1974 to 1988, before it morphed into other gay spaces like that include Griff’s.