West Hollywood still ain't quite Calabasas yet, at least not after last night's decision by the city's planning commission to allow dancing at the world's best gay bar, The Abbey.

After the West Hollywood Planning Commission failed to act in May to grant a change in The Abbey's conditional use permit from restaurant to nightclub, a mighty sh@!storm blew through the small, 1.9-square-mile city, with owner David Cooley, Abbey regulars, and others expecting the worse.

In recent years, West Hollywood has put more emphasis on being “family-friendly” rather than nightlife-friendly, especially with a proposed outdoor smoking ban at bars and restaurants that was eventually watered down.

So Cooley and his partner SBE Entertainment Group started up a grassroots campaign that involved all the usual new media bells and whistles and brought their case to the West Hollywood Planning Commission last night. The commissioners essentially said, 'Fine, have your nightclub.'

Within minutes, Cooley and gang were spreading love and joy on The Abbey's Twitter account. “Thank you all who came out!! Los Angeles West Hollywood,” reads one tweet. “We're so touched!!” reads another.

By 9 p.m. last night, according to another tweet, Cooley was already at The Abbey, doing the twist or the mashed potato or the vogue or whatever dance he was doing.

“David Cooley taking the first legal dance at The Abbey!! Thank you again to the City of West Hollywood's Planning [Commission],” reads the tweet.

Indeed. Certain folks don't always remember this, but dancing was verboten with a capital “V” in gay bars across the United States for decades. If cops saw the gays dancing together, they were very quickly thrown into jail, disgraced, and ruined.

Luckily, West Hollywood, one of the world's gay meccas, avoided that whole controversy last night. Gays banning gays from dancing at the world's official best gay bar? That would not have been good.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

LA Weekly