New Gym Sports Bar and Grill caused quite the commotion this past weekend, when its all too familiar logo went up at its new home to remind loyal customers that Gym Bar is opening soon. General manager and bartender Giovanni Vitulli took advantage of the extra foot traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard this past weekend for WeHo Pride. He set up a pride photo backdrop to meet and reunite with former patrons.
Vitulli and his husband Gary Thomas hosted games and gave away free t-shirts and other Gym Bar swag this past Sunday.
“We’re out here taking pictures of everybody and letting people know that we’re coming back stronger than ever and we want to tell the entire community that we’re here,” Vitulli told WEHO TIMES. “We love you and can’t wait to see you soon. People are excited. They keep asking us when we’re opening and I tell them that we’re hoping to open in the middle of July. The food is going to be amazing and of course the drinks are always great. Then there are the people. Gym Bar is a place where they feel comfortable and where they know that they’re accepted.”
He says that on top of now serving burgers, fries, wraps, chicken and some breakfast items, he plans to reunite with local sports teams like the West Hollywood Dodge Ball team, as well as Gay Varsity League. “We’re going to be with all of them,” he said. “Everyone is going to be here.”
Gym Bar celebrated 10 years at 8737 Santa Monica Boulevard in 2019, where lesbian bar Normandie Room had been located. In July, 2020, the bars owners announced that it was closing for good after being shut down for four months due to COVID. It would become the first of four gay bars in West Hollywood to close permanently with Flaming Saddles, The Gold Coast and then Rage all lost their lease during the pandemic.
In January 2021, the gay sports bar announced it was getting a second chance at life in West Hollywood on the corner of Hilldale Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, two doors down from the now shuttered Rage Nightclub. However, it would need the help of its patrons to complete its construction via a gofundme campaign. The restaurant and bar raised $20,725 of $75,000 goal. By March of this year, the Bar announced it had been approved to serve liquor at the new location owned by Monte Overstreet, who has been blasted by many of his former tenants for being a difficult landlord. Gym Sports Bar and Grill is the only shuttered bar in WeHo that is getting a new lease on life on Santa Monica Boulevard thus far.
“It’s going to be business as usual,” Vitulli added. “It’s just in a better location and better food. We didn’t serve food at the other location, so we can’t wait to serve you all next month.”