Lenny Sinatra Robert VanBeveran The Suite About

R
obert VanBeveran and Leonard Sinatra own The Suite (formerly Executive Suite) located at 3428 E. Pacific Coast Highway and Redondo Avenue in Long Beach. They are also successful realtors and entrepreneurs (they’ve owned a tropical fish store in Long Beach and Lenny designed lighting for Disney). Now the two, who have been together more than 25 years, own The Suite and their future is so bright you have to wear shades.

The Suite was one of Long Beach’s first alternative bars, owned by Stacy and Karen Harris, and was very popular. After years under the same ownership the brand faded and customers left to newer clubs and bars. Simply said, the old Executive Suite became run down and fell into disrepair. It desperately needed fresh blood and someone to re-invent the sleepy brand.

Robert’s father owned and operated bars in Chicago and the two were looking for a new challenge. They were disappointed after a deal to purchase Hamburger Mary’s in Palm Springs fell through at the last minute. Suddenly, the two had a great plan, but no bar. When Joseph Johnson, an employee of the original Executive Suite, called and asked if they might be interested in buying the bar, “We decided to go for it,” said VanBeveran.

“Yes!” said Sinatra “We thought this was the challenge we needed.”

The two purchased the bar a year ago, but their Official Grand Opening is schedule for Friday, May 2, 2014. “We completely underestimated the amount of things in disrepair – and it’s taken time to remodel the space to our standards,” stated Sinatra. The entrepreneur (who also sings a terrific version of Fly Me to the Moon) isn’t kidding.

They’ve revamped and cleaned the main bar on Street Level. Then turned their attention to the Upper Level which includes dance floor, bar, VIP seating area and show bar where famed performers from RuPaul’s Drag Rage like Latrice Royale and Morgan McMichaels perform each Thursday in the Lipstick Divas Show.

Most recently, they literally unearthed the subterranean Lower Level which was full of storage items and furniture accumulated over two decades by the prior owners. The Lower Level is been transformed into a posh Ultra Lounge which will feature martini and cocktail bar, luxurious, cabaret-style seating with full couches and modern tables.

Robert and Lenny managed to salvage retro lighting that will add a carnival-like ambiance to the space which also boasts an LED, color changing wall and deejay booth with space for entertainment. “We see this as a speakeasy, jazz club space that could showcase comics, drag queens, blues bands or singers like our friend Mara Getz,” commented VanBeveran. Sinatra chimes in “and it’s perfect for a corporate event, wedding party or private affair!”

Robert and Lenny were quick to engage the community from their years of living in Bay Harbor and Belmont Shores. “We’ve had 15 fundraisers in our first twelve months,” stated Sinatra.

The two and their outstanding team of bartenders, servers and cast members pulled out all the stops for the Long Beach Pride Parade last year winning the Pride Award for best entry.

The float showcased a 16-foot martini glass, booming sound system and a dozen dancers.
The Suite is always the final entry in the LB Pride Parade because original owner, Fred Covell and Yolanda Mack (along with Marilyn Barlow), donated money more than 30 years ago which created Long Beach’s first Pride Parade. “We proud to be part of the LGBTQ history in Long Beach and we were really proud to win the Pride Award last!” stated VanBeveran.

For this year’s Pride, The Suite will have Long Beach’s only Block Party, fencing off their front parking lot, something no other bar can provide. “We are giving our customers a real reason to come here and party – plenty of free parking, outdoor drinking and entertainment, great good (provided by a local food cart vendor) and great, cool indoor space as well,” beamed Sinatra.

Community partners benefitting from The Suite’s generous support include local pool leagues, the Imperial Court, The Posse Softball Team, The Gay & Lesbian Center and Latino Pride. “We knew this was going to be work,” said Sinatra. “And,” adds VanBeveran, smiling broadly, “it’s exciting to see things improving and rising to a new level of excellence – this summer is going to be amazing!”

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