Credit: Chris R. from Yelp, 2020
Opened December 5, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and among closures of LGBTQ+ bars throughout Los Angeles. Co-owned by Deysi Serrano, Luis Octavio, and Donaji Esparza, Noa Noa Place provided food, drinks, drag performances, and dancing to the Queer Latinx community.
Later they changed their name to "El Place."
Serrano, owner of Milpagrille, who Octavio and Esparza both call “mama luchona, that makes shit happen,” ran the popular, healthy eatery and supported philanthropic community efforts such as the Boyle Heights community fridge. Octavio is the founder of the renowned and largest Latino community market, Molcajete Dominguero, which brings together hundreds of artists and vendors to provide unique shopping experiences for folks in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Northern California areas. And Esparza is a popular Spanish radio show host, currently with Univision network’s KLOVE, who has worked as a radio talent for 14 years, and uses her platform to support and uplift Latinx communities differently.
"El Noa Noa" was a hit song written by the late singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel that immortalized the bar and dance hall of the same name where his career began in Juarez Chihuahua, Mexico. Co-owner Luis Octavio said of Noa Noa, "'Where everything is going to be different,' just as what the song that inspired us to do this mentions - and it's going to be a Queer Latinx bar-pizzeria place."
In 2021, the owners said that they tried to negotiate lower rent with their landlord, but their efforts were unsuccessful.
“It is an older building with things constantly breaking down. We’ve been able to survive but at the end of the day we also want to make profit," Octavio told LAist.
Octavio also said that as other bars and nightlife spaces reopen, competition has made it difficult for the bar to survive .
Chris R. from Yelp, 2020