Monica’s house wins Planning Commission approval

On Thursday night, the City of West Hollywood Planning Commission unanimously approved the issuance of a new conditional use permit for a new bar at 8275 Santa Monica Blvd. This license would include the sale, service and on-site consumption of food and alcoholic beverages.

The 1,600 square foot project, called “Monica’s House”, will be housed in a commercial space built in 1925 that was previously occupied by a restaurant. Additionally, this proposal is exempt from California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Section 15303 because it requires only minor modifications to a small structure.

According to city staff and project nominee Jay Handal, Monica’s House will diversify dining and entertainment alternatives in West Hollywood, resulting in additional jobs and revenue for the city. The area is primarily for commercial use and the project complies with all zoning ordinances.

During the meeting, West Hollywood City Associate Planner Roger Rath went into detail about the floor plan for Monica’s home, which seats 41 people. It consists of a main counter with seats, as well as a few tables and two-seater booths. The bar does not include a dance floor and will not offer live entertainment or outdoor seating.

A four-cabin bathroom will be shared with the adjacent tenant in the building, a cannabis and edibles lounge. Both businesses will be owned by Handal and will be treated as separate entities.

“The cannabis lounge is an organization and the bar is a separate organization. It’s California law – they have to be separated. They should have separate addresses and they should be well secured,” Handal said.

Handal added that security will be present in the hallway where the bathroom will be, to ensure there is no traffic between the cannabis lounge and the bar.

“There will be a security guard stationed there for the duration of the opening of the place, so that no one can pass from one end to the other. If you are in the bar, you are in the bar, and if you are in the cannabis zone, you are in the cannabis zone, but there will be no passage with alcohol or cannabis at the one or the other place,” he said.

Hours of operation would be 11am to 2am which is similar to other bars nearby. City staff recommend that liquor sales at Monica’s Place end at 1:30 a.m., so patrons have plenty of time to consume their drinks and leave the premises by closing time.

Commissioners are optimistic and Vice President Marquita Thomas, who lives a few blocks away, thinks the area will benefit immensely from this venture.

“I’m really happy to see this bar coming, as it brings life and vitality to the city centre. This will have a positive impact on public safety. It is job creation. I live on Harper, so it works for me, and generally I’m supportive of the project,” Thomas said.

Aurora J. William