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Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, California, has been under the spotlight recently as new businesses open and threaten to gentrify the predominantly low-income neighborhood. Boyle Heights is known for its strong Latinx community, which has been depicted in Latinx created shows like Gentrified and Vida.
Even though COVID-19 restrictions have affected many businesses, a few friends, dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community, decided to bring an out of business neighborhood sports bar back to life.\
Noa Noa Place is the first Latinx bar dedicated to the LQBTQ+ community in Boyle Heights. The bar is named after Juan Gabriel's classic song, “El Noa Noa” which was a nightclub in Juarez, Mexico where Juan Gabriel had his first performance.
The new Noa Noa Place in Boyle Heights had its inception after Luis Octavio, co-owner, had complications with gallbladder surgery." Octavio says, “When I was in the recovery room I decided ¿Por que No? And began to reach out to Deysi Serrano from Milpa Grille and Donaji, on-air personality for KLOVE, and the journey began."
Octavio says he is tired of seeing his favorite LGBTQ bars host Latino nights only once or twice a week when this is more than a gimmick for him. “We will be a bar where drag queens perform Spanish songs," Octavio says, "where the music will resemble that of a Quinceañera party playing a mix of all Latino music from rancheras, tamborazo, cumbias, reggaeton and everything in between.”
The bar plans to host Karaoke nights, themed nights, and of course Brunch with a Latinx spin like "El Brunch de las Recalentadas", and many more.
The location came equipped with pizza ovens from the previously mentioned sports bar and Noa Noa Place will definitely have wings and pizza on the menu, with a Noa Noa flair. The kitchen will offer items like Al Pastor Wings, Tater THOTs, Agua Drinks, and PicZaaz. Octavio mentions that his favorite item on the menu is the ShortyZo PicZa, a collaboration between chefs Jonathan Perez and Sergio Diaz. The fun menu will offer a Latin twist on American bar classics that already have my mouth watering.
Noa Noa Place is a place of inclusion and they’re doing their part to keep customers safe from COVID-19. All orders will be ToGo which will be labeled as their "To Go Experience." They are asking all their patrons to wear masks and enter in parties of two after temperatures are checked at the door. As customers enter, they will be greeted by the fabulous Drag Queen, Melissa Befierce. Then patrons are met with two Instagrammable walls for social media clout. Once done with taking pictures, they order the food and wait outside on the patio. The bar is taking all necessary precautions to keep their customers healthy, happy and fed.
Octavio and his team are excited to bring a joyful safe space for their community and we're eager to see what the future holds in store for them.
Noa Noa Place opened is open Thursday through Sunday
2321 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90033.