The Boom Boom Room is the oldest gay bar in the western United States. Opened in the 1920s as a serviceman’s bar, it became a major destination for the Southern California gay community starting in the 1940s.

Located inside the Coast Inn (the second-oldest hotel in Laguna Beach), the Boom has long drawn visitors from around the world. For gay and lesbian visitors to Laguna Beach, it’s a can’t-miss stop. For many residents, it’s a favorite watering hole.

Travel writer Rose Apodaca Jones writes that the Boom’s “history might be ancient, but the vibe never is. As one of the few West Coast waterfront resorts to cater to a predominantly gay clientele, the party never ends, as locals and weekenders alike treat their time here as a mini-holiday. Imbibe in the front, then head to the dance hall in the back to sweating it off.”

Situated below the Boom Boom Room on the bluff to the ocean is the Garden of Peace and Love, the lush final resting place of more than 20 men who have died from AIDS. Michel Martennay, the French-born landscaper who created the garden around 1987 and still tends to it daily, tells, “It’s my treat for the people.”

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