Like so many venues around the country, Flaming Saddles shut down due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Five months in, the owners have announced the bar will not reopen its West Hollywood location.
Owners Jacqui Squatriglia and Chris Barnes took to Facebook over the weekend to announce the closure. “With the heaviest of hearts, We are sad to say that Flaming Saddles WeHo will not be reopening at 8811 Santa Monica Blvd,” the couple wrote.
“Covid-19 has reeked [sic] havoc globally,” Barnes and Squatriglia continued, “and with a better national strategy here in the U.S. perhaps things would of been different. With the rules as they stand today there is no way we could of fulfilled our fiscal obligations that were presented to us at this location.”
Eater Los Angeles further reports that the couple opted to close Flaming Saddles after ongoing arguments with their landlord over rent. An email from Barnes and Squatriglia posted to Twitter reads in part, “I had spoken to landlords, thought I worked out deals, and we were watching the science carefully as well as city and state regulations. Well, as we were drawing close to opening Flaming Saddles Weho, it was revealed to us that we did not have a secure deal. That was certainly a surprise, but we went immediately into renegotiating.”
Flaming Saddles West Hollywood is Closing! The 2nd Gay Bar in WeHo to Permanantly Close. pic.twitter.com/MqsOBi0yEw
— GayWeHo Gay Los Angeles West Hollywood (@Gay_LosAngeles) August 16, 2020
The email goes on to say that despite repeated attempts, Barnes and Squatriglia could not come to terms with their landlord. As such, they could not meet their financial obligations, and opted to close the bar for good.
The closure of Flaming Saddles epitomizes an ongoing business crisis set off by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Los Angeles and particularly West Hollywood, scores of businesses have shut down permanently due to disputes with landlords over rent.