precinct, dtla
Thor Stephens

Thor Stephens, whose Precinct bar was an important element in the evolution of downtown Los Angeles as a gay destination, died yesterday.

Stephens’ death was announced by his husband, Brian McIntire, co-owner of Precinct.

“The cause of his death is not yet known, but if there is any solace to be taken, it is that he at least appears to have gone peacefully, sleeping in his bed,” McIntire said in a post on Facebook
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Precinct opened in DTLA at 357 South Broadway, in the historic core of the City of Los Angeles, in May 2015. It billed itself as a “rock and roll gay bar,” with its name a subtle allusion to the fact that the Department of Corrections had once been located inits space on the corner of Broadway and 4th Street.

gay bar
Precinct at 357 S Broadway in DTLA

L.A. Weekly recognized Precinct in 2015 as the Best New Gay Bar. “With Precinct leading the way, DTLA may evolve into the WeHo of the 21st century,” said a review by Mick Ciriaco.

Precinct serves food as well as drinks and is divided into various spaces, with a patio-like area on two sides where smoking is allowed, a bar area where guests can hang out and cruise, and a stage known for its creative and varied programming. Especially creative is the programming by the Boulet Brothers, who have staged events like Queen Kong, which brings together on Friday nights a variety of drag performers.

Precinct was followed by Redline, which opened in July 2015 at 121 E. 6th St. and Bar Mattachine at 221 W. 7th St., which opened in October 2015.

The opening of those bars and the migration of gay men to DTLA is said to have been the inspiration for DTLA Proud, the annual Pride event that takes place at Pershing Square.

In his post on Facebook, McIntire announced an “informal gathering” to celebrate Stephens’ life, which will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Precinct.

“Once we have a better idea of when he can be finally laid to rest, an official memorial celebration of this giant, vibrant soul will be offered” he said.

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