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Westlake’s Oldest Gay Bar Set to be Demolished

Opened in the early 1960s, the Silver Platter has long been known as a safe space for immigrant gay and transgender communities in Westlake. The building dates back to the 1920s.

The words silver and platter with an emblem between them featured on the front of the Silver Platter on 7th Street.

The front of the Silver Platter on 7th Street in Westlake. (Photo by Lexis-Olivier Ray for L.A. TACO)

The Silver Platter, Westlake’s oldest gay bar, is currently at risk of being demolished.

Opened in the early 1960s, the Silver Platter has long been known as a safe space for immigrant gay and transgender communities in Westlake. The building dates back to the 1920s.

Last month, a developer filed an application to demolish the bar and adjacent store fronts—which include a travel agency and glass shop—to make way for a seven-story, 55-unit apartment complex, according to online Building and Safety records. The developer has indicated that at least some of those units will be “affordable.”

Esotouric first reported that the developer claimed there were no historic resources on the property and that it was not eligible for historic preservation, on a form filed with the city planning department.

However, a 2008 city survey found that 2700 W. 7th Street “appears eligible for the National Register, California Register, and as an L.A. Historic Cultural Monument because it is one of a limited number of intact commercial buildings constructed during the period of significance and appears to meet the eligibility standards prepared in the Westlake CRA Survey Historic Context Statement.”

The Silver Platter is not far from the former house of Morris Kight, a pioneer of the gay rights movement in Los Angeles. Last year the city council designated the Morris Kight house a historic landmark.

“There are a number of groups that came out of the gay liberation front, all of which sprung up on Wilshire and Alvarado down from here,” said preservationist Richard Schave of Esotouric. “So this is a really important neighborhood for the LGBTQ+ community.” 

A spokesperson for Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez told L.A. TACO that the councilmember “believes that it’s crucial that we honor the history of the LGBTQIA+ movement, and protect safe spaces for those community members,” when asked her position on the matter. 

“This development project was approved prior to our time in office. However, our office is working with the Planning Department to identify what options are available to protect this important location,” said Rhondaya Fishburne, Hernandez’s digital communications deputy.

As of recently, the Silver Platter is still open for business, according to Schave and Kim Cooper of Esotouric. But its days appear to be possibly numbered.

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