Once upon a time, the Abbey was just another gay bar in West Hollywood, with an exceptionally cute clientele and a wonderful outdoor setting. The food and drinks were good, too, and the prices were reasonable. Then the popularity of the Abbey took off, and not just among the gay crowd — even straight folks enjoyed the vibe and hung out. As with many things that become so successful, some people started to feel a little alienated. “The Abbey is an institution,” says gay nightlife promoter Tom Whitman, “but the core crowd of gay guys that made it so successful has felt a little left out lately. Sanctuary is my solution for that — a fun, extremely gay, tongue-in-cheek invasion of the Abbey.” Whitman has designated every Thursday night as the time for that invasion, with drag queen Rhea Litre hosting the festivities. “I love the Abbey,” says Whitman, who's known for bringing in attractive and friendly crowds. “I was around as it grew from a coffee house to the huge success that it is. I want to bring back a night when everyone feels welcome, but you definitely know that it's a gay event. Gay, gay, gay.” From what we've seen and heard, Whitman has more than accomplished his goals.

Thursdays, 9 p.m., 2010

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