During May of last year, for a split second in time, Venice citizens thought they were going to have to make due without a neighborhood gay bar. The Venice neighborhood, a famously diverse area, has been going through big changes in the past 10 years as the rent for a slot on the coveted Abbot Kinney Blvd. keeps growing steeper and steeper, and as chain cafes and designer stores displace some of the older businesses that have helped the neighborhood thrive for years. In the summer of 2017, it looked like the stalwart gay bar, which opened in 1979, would go the way of the dodo. However, with a little help from the Venice community, including Venice Pride founder Grant Turck and Roosterfish’s new owner Mario Vollera, the iconic bar is set to reopen just in time for Venice Pride’s 3rd year in business. To mark the occasion, we caught up with Vollera to talk about getting Roosterfish ready for its second act.
Tell me a bit about how you got involved with Roosterfish.
I always loved the place. When we saw it was available, we loved the idea of reopening it.
How has the Venice community gotten involved with the re-opening?
We got a great support from neighborhood, the Venice Neighborhood Council, Mike Bonin, the Venice Pride committee. Everybody helped! Somehow, we are blessed to live in such an open-minded, caring neighborhood.
What did you want to change about Roosterfish? What did you want to keep the same?
We want to keep the name and legacy, the history and the personality. Honestly, we didn’t change much. All we had to do was clean it up a little.
What are some of your hopes and dreams for the reopening?
We hope that the bar is going to work and be busy. The rent on Abbot Kinney is very high and we are counting on the locals in order to make it stick!
What kinds of events/special nights are you planning for the future?
A lot of surprises to come!
What does the history of Roosterfish mean to you?
Is a beautiful example of what makes Venice wonderful. The Venice Beach area has always been a cosmopolitan neighborhood that welcomes everybody Roosterfish has been a great, iconic bar for so long, and will hopefully be successful for decades to come.