Silver Lake

Silver Lake's Iconic LGBTQ AKBAR Gets Whopping $175,000 in Community Support in Pandemic

And the number is growing for this LA oasis.

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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. xoxoxo

Posted by AKBAR on Monday, December 14, 2020

Peter Alexander and partner Scott Craig realized they had to do something.

They were hemorrhaging money.

The United States Coast Guard pulled into Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with $400 million worth of cocaine and marijuana. The drugs were confiscated in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean.

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.

After studies connecting a number of chemicals used in personal care products to disease and birth defects, California legislators set out to eliminate those toxic ingredients. They faced a formidable opponent in the personal care products industry, but this year passed a landmark piece of legislation that could be followed in other states.

"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.

You can find Akbar's GoFundMe here.

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