Dear Friends – Well, it has been quite a weekend and the Boom Boom Room and Coast Inn have officially closed their doors for now. It’s been four nights of parties and a sad, yet hopeful final night last night. Lots of Boom regulars, old timers and quite a few first timers were there til the 2:00 am closing. It seems like everyone there tonight had a very fun and certainly memorable time.

Among the first timers were television reporters and crews representing 4 Los Angeles TV stations: KCBS – 2, KCAL – 9, KTTV – 11, KCOP – 13, along with KFWB News Radio and several Orange County and Laguna Beach newspapers. And capping off the all the mainstream media was a big assortment of gay publications that were at the Boom throughout the closing weekend.

Stay tuned to our fight to keep the Boom Boom Room right were it has been for the past 60 years.

You can view the TV coverage from last night’s closing night at the Boom at the links below:

Here is the link to a great story by Christa Woodall and Heather Ignatin from yesterday’s Orange County Register in the front section, page A 3! They also have published some great Boom memories as a part of their story.

Monday, September 3, 2007
One last toast at the Boom Boom Room

The Boom Boom Room is set to close Tuesday morning.


The Orange County Register

In a matter of hours the Boom Boom Room will serve its last drink, play its last song and turn off the lights.

The popular gay bar – for decades a landmark in Laguna Beach – will close its doors at 2 a.m. Tuesday.

“I’m devastated. It’s the most special place in the world to me. It’s where I found safety and new beginnings,” said Eric Grich, 37, of Reno , who has been a patron at the Boom since the late 1980s. “I was able to go there and be myself. The friends I met there 20 years ago I still know today.”

Since 2006, a grass-roots effort led by Fred Karger had tried to keep the bar open – gathering thousands of signatures, lobbying the City Council and even reaching out to Hollywood celebrities.

But in the end, it was the establishment’s owners, Patrick O’Loughlin and James Marchese, who decided to turn down a month-to-month lease through spring 2008 for the properties that house the bar and Coast Inn because they felt there was no future.

The bar has been an icon in the gay community. It was nationally known for the best high-energy dance music and being one of the few places gay men could let loose.
An underlying sadness has crept into the bar’s energetic atmosphere during its final weeks, Karger said.

“It’s melancholy inside those walls,” he said. “I’m sad this chapter is ending but optimistic that the next chapter we’re entering … will lead to a happy ending. … It’s been a landmark for six decades, and we will not rest until it returns as a gay landmark.”

“I recall back in 1998, having just moved to the West Coast, running into someone at the Boom Boom Room one summer evening who would turn out to be my partner for six wonderful years. The place has a magic about it and its location is legendary, something that will be difficult to replicate.” – Christopher Heywood of New York

“My memory goes back to the 1980s when my boyfriend, Geoff, and I used to visit Laguna three or four times every year for 11 years. We would come down early Saturday morning because we could only afford one night in a hotel and stay through Sunday night. It was always Saturday night at the Boom Boom Room. We would run into friends from L.A. and found it so easy to make new friends here in Laguna. It was always the perfect vacation bar to go to. Lots of other visitors and the locals were the best and the lucky ones.”– Fred Karger of Laguna Beach

“For many of us who grew up in the O.C., the Boom was our home away from home. I am no exception. When I crawled out of the closet in 1996, I was living in Newport Beach . I had just graduated from UC Irvine, and I was still trying to fit into the straight surfer scene on the Peninsula . Then one boring night at Malarky’s, I heard a Tri Delta talking about ‘Faguna’ and the Boom. I had no idea a gay community existed in the O.C. and so close to me. The revelation was mind-numbing. Soon thereafter, I found myself at the bar, drunk and spilling my heart to a beautiful bartender from Chicago . My first crush was born … and my first gay friends emerged. And as soon as I could, I got a job at the Boom as a doorman where I worked for many years. Needless to say, the loss of the Boom is the loss of my gay adolescence. My heart aches for its loss, but (I’m) proud of the memories that will last forever.”– Omar A. Sandoval of New York

“It’s a place where people put their shoulders down and act like normal people. They come with a good open attitude for having fun and relaxing. It’s also way more laid back and cooler than Newport . I’ve been going there for 15 years. I think the owner should renovate it and keep it gay. He should spend some of his money and resources on doing a study. He’d find out that gays spend a lot of money on expensive travel. He could make more money targeting gay business, rather than straight business. He could be a hero.” – Thomas Miller of Los Angeles

“The Boom was a great place to hang out on the weekends. It was your friendly neighborhood bar like my parents had in Chicago , but for the gay community. I have many great memories of being there playing pool, hanging out with friends, watching the sunset, and listening to ’80s music. It was a safe place for me to discover myself and to share happy times with my friends. Whenever I remember Laguna Beach , I remember the Boom. They are synonymous to me.”– Robert L. Mlodzik of Holly Springs, N.C.

“I was the head DJ at the Boom during 1985 and 1986. This was shortly after the longtime gay owner, Sid (if memory serves), died. I spent many nights in that DJ booth, which I remodeled and rewired, and occasionally spent the night in the hotel when I didn’t want to drive home after a long shift.”– David Troup of San Francisco

“Me and my first lover, Paul, had many great weekends there from 1981 through 1986 and I still would go many weekends until 1990. It was a socially comfortable place where folks had a good time and could be themselves. I consider it a historical site of Laguna Beach , like Trader Vic’s in Hollywood . It has lots of history. In the ’80s I danced for hours at a time. The DJs always had the best new wave and disco music then. I now live further away (near L.A. ), but it would be nice to be able to go there and party again. Also, my best friend (known as Drew Blood) who passed from AIDS in 1997 had his ashes spread on the beach down the stairway outside the Boom.”– Rob Brooks of Whittier

“My aunt owns The Surf & Sand, and I was fortunate enough to visit Laguna Beach every summer growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. Gay culture was so prominent, normal and accepted there that it was a wonderful change compared to my hometown of Phoenix . It was a real treat to return as an adult lesbian and finally visit the Boom Boom Room in the 1990s. What a great, friendly bar. It’s sad to hear that Laguna is losing its prominent gay culture and the Boom Boom Room. Now, I have little reason to visit Laguna anymore.”– Erin McDowell of San Francisco

“I went to the Boom Boom for the first time more than 16 years ago during Labor Day weekend. I was just coming out and met several guys there and had the best experiences and week of my life. Today I still have those friends in my life, and they are my best friends. I return to Laguna once a year now just to go to the Boom Boom Room to meet new friends and celebrate my current friends. I tell all my friends they have to go to Laguna Beach and the Boom. It’s one of the most amazing places, and it would be a tragedy to lose something so important to the gay community, not to mention my yearly trips.”– Eric Grich of Reno

Contact the writer: 949-454-7335 or

Thanks for your interest and help as we work to SAVE the BOOM — Forever!!!

Best regards,
Fred Karger