Iconic LGBTQ oasis AKBAR in Silver Lake, like many bars, had fallen on hard times after being forced to close its doors in March, but thanks to the community banding together, the establishment is getting an influx of more than $175,000, and the amount is still growing.
AKBAR, located on Sunset Boulevard for the past 20-plus years, has touched hundreds if not thousands of lives. All that was being threatened bu the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are truly touched by the enormous out-pouring of love and support. We cannot wait to see you all over a drink at the bar or on the dance floor or out in the parking lot on a warm Sunday afternoon. xoxoxoPosted by AKBAR on Monday, December 14, 2020
Peter Alexander and partner Scott Craig realized they had to do something.
They were hemorrhaging money.
Employees, like David LaBarron, had been laid off -- more than twenty of them.
"It’s more than my day job; it’s part of who I am," LaBarron said.
The owners started a GoFundMe account at the suggestion of friends.
The goal was set at $150,000 to pay back a small business loan.
At that point, Alexander figured "it can’t hurt.”
The community was supportive, all right.
In 24 hours, the account had raised a $150,00 -- and then some. On Wednesday, the total inched past $175,000.
It might be enough to save AKBAR.
"The depth of support has been really overwhelming," Alexander said.
Perhaps most important of all, it’s reminded Alexander of why he bought Akbar in the first place, all those years ago.
It's a safe spot for members of the LGBTQ community to meet and mingle.
Eleven years ago, Linda Santiman met her wife, Michelle, on the AKBAR dance floor.
Five years later, their wedding was later officiated by an AKBAR bartender.
"It’s not just 'a place to drink alcohol,'" Santiman said, who donated.
"We need our neighborhood places. We need them."
She said without safe, nurturing places like this, stories like hers and Michelle's would be fewer and far between.
Alexander has newfound confidence that AKBAR can survive.
"I can’t tell you how joyous that makes me feel!" Alexander said.