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Comments

Ken

This was great. I was only to two of these bars. I left New York in 1968 for good, and only visited twice after that. I wish someone would make a list of the really old gay bars. The ones that I remember. ( I guess I could, but I don't remember the addresses ) I do remember my first Gay Bar was called the Blue Bunny, and it was somewhere around Times Square. It got raided the night my friends took me there!

Rob

Hi Ken, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Blue Bunny seemed familiar to me, then I realized I was thinking of the ice cream brand! I bet you can discover a lot about NYC bars from your era by doing some Google searches. As for me, I couldn't have written this post without my journals. Thanks for your comment.

Rob

Charles James

Great reading all of this, Thank you keeping our history alive!!!

Ken Sturmer

Hi Rob,
Just got directed back here, while trying to search for " Blue Bunny Gay Bar NYC". I have remembered a few more gay bars from the sixties. There was Danny's on Christopher which was my favorite bar as a "twinkie". The leather and levi guys just loved this eighteen year old ( yes that was the drinking age back then in NY! ) There was also Kellers a block away. The Tool Box down on West Street. Then there were two mostly Lesbian but mixed places, the Gold Bug and The Tenth of Always. Stonewall was mostly for the drag queen crowd, but we went there now and then, because it was open after hours. Another Drag Queen bar was the Club 81 on the East Side. Julius was a very stuffy, Ivy League bar. I never liked it, but I did meet some interesting people there. It was a place where, in the closet celebrities sometimes made an appearance. I remember chasing a popular movie star out of the place once. I made the mistake of saying his name out loud, and of course heads turned. I also met a well known radio commentator there. Boy what a dirty old man!

There were dance clubs like the Loft, the Sewer and a place that was actually on top of an old skyscraper called Top of the Town. I believe the building was the "Shelton Towers" and was located on the upper East Side somewhere. On 8th St, there was the Bon Soir, a basement piano bar that catered to an older clientele. There was Tony Pastors near Bleecker Street. It catered to the theatre crowd, even got a mention in the song "Sunday Clothes" from Hello Dolly. Martha Raye was seen there more than a few times, when she played Dolly.

Those were such different times than now. We finally got what we wanted, to enter the mainstream. Unfortunately I think we lost something in the process. There was a certain magic in making eye contact in those days with someone, who was just like you. That no longer happens!

Herb

The Barefoot Boy, The Old Limelight on 7th and Sheridan, The Nickle Bar, Peter Rabbits , Monster, The Bar The Pyramid Bar ( which was gay very briefly before Ciconne - I refuse to call her Madonna, [ she still owes money to people who have died before she paid them ] and her crew invaded it before she became a star ) those were the daze !

Dharmabum

I used to work at Rounds and Le Bar. Anyone remember Le Bar and the notorious owner B. ?

Chris Marks

I sort of recall a mid-town bar (8th somewhere near 45th) called the Haymarket. As a "cute" 18 year old I wandered in there not knowing it was a hustler bar and was immediately plied with drinks by a half dozen or so "old" guys who must have been at least 30 (LOL). Has my memory failed me or can anyone else confirm this bar and its location.

Rob

Hi Chris, your memory is crystal clear! The following link will take you to an article that discusses the Haymarket as well as some other gay bars in that neighborhood: http://bitterqueen.typepad.com/friends_of_ours/haymarket/

Thanks for your message.

Andrew

Rob, I loved this article Having moved to NYC in
late '78 and moved back to the jersey shore in '89, I had the pleasure of
frequenting most of the bars listed at one time or another. My very first visit
to a gay bar in NYC was the result of a broadcast done by Roseanne Scamardella
of Eyewitness News on Channel 7. She was reporting on how many guys were now
coming out of the closet and frequenting bars in the City. Her report was done
in front of Uncle Charlie's on Third Ave. I was mesmerized by the story and
intrigued because I was going to be in NYC at a straight party with high
school friends that weekend. This was probably in the spring of 1975. I was
still dating girls but had begun tinkering with the other side a bit.

I left the Third Ave. party I was attending without telling anyone and made my way
up the street. When I saw the sign "Uncle Charlie"s" my heart raced as I
remembered it as the place Roseanne was talking about. When i entered I was
immediately met by someone at the door who told me I wanted the bar over on
Second Ave. I traversed the long block over to Second Ave and there it was, my
first NYC bar. Being the good looking ,preppy 25 year old college grad, as
naive as all get out, I immediately felt at home. I didn't pay for a drink the
whole night, eventually being led over to the Barefoot Boy where I had my first
dance with a guy. Being a frequent party-goer in New Jersey at the new nightclubs known as discos, suddenly I found myself in the "best disco in town".

I eventually ended up back at the Statler Hilton across from Penn Station with
a very hot ski instructor from Denver who was in town on his way to Killington
for a job interview for the upcoming winter. Having way too much to drink, and
barely remember getting to the hotel before passing out, when I did awake
sometime around 8:00am I was shocked and freaked out. My straight friends on
the East Side who I was staying with would surely be wondering what became of
me. Awaking to empty pockets and not sure how I was going to get back to
Gramercy Park, my ski instructor was kind enough to give me $20. Off I went
trying to figure out how I would explain the most memorable event of my
young life to my friends and realizing that I was gay. What a night. Just
felt like sharing that with you.
Thanks, AR

Rob

That's a great story, Andrew, thanks for sharing it Yes, the early years of coming out in NYC were very special. But I'm jealous - I never had a night where all my drinks were paid for! Also, I chuckled thinking that you could have easily walked to Gramercy from the Penn Station area. And $20 - that would be like $80 in today's dollars!

Paul

Hey Rob, I came across your blog via Kenneth M. Walsh's blog "Kenneth in the 212." I
enjoyed your history of closed New York bars, as it roughly coincides with
my time in New York. (I first lived here in the summer of 1980 and moved
here permanently in 1981.) Makes me wish I had saved my old Gay Yellow
Pages! (Remember those?) I often rack my brain trying to think of the names
and/or locations of old gay bars that have closed (as well as other places
that have closed or changed in NYC).
Paul
P.S. Not sure if I ever actually made it to Private Eyes (the topic of Ken's
post), but I definitely remember when it opened.

tnypow

i can add to that...CHAPS...a jeans/"leather" place on the Upper East side...87th and 3rd Ave...back in the early- mid 80's...later they added a "backroom" upstairs, I know, I was the "gatekeeper" so to speak.

tnypow

Badlands (Christopher & West Side Hwy) - It had one of the most memorable bar logos, a wolf howling at the moon. It closed after two people were fatally shot there by a crazed man in the winter of 1981.

WRONG BAR...It was the Ramrod, which was a few doors down from it...same block.

tnypow

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/20/nyregion/man-held-for-1980-killings-outside-a-gay-bar-seeks-release-from-hospital.html

Rob

Thanks for pointing that out ... I'll make the correction.

tnypow

" I never had a night where all my drinks were paid for!"

I knew a gay, blond Italian-American" who could make that happen all the time in that "era"...and he wasn't a hustler! All he had to do was tap his empty glass on the bar a couple of times...not "looking" at anyone...and drinks would appear!

dan

anyone have the addresses of the now gone Bogart's, South Dakota, and Company?

Rob

Dan, I don't have specific addresses, but Bogarts was on E.59th St. between 2nd and 1st Avenues; I believe Company was on Third Ave. around 30th St.; and I seem to recall South Dakota being on Second Avenue around 25th St.

George

Ken (3/12/14) - I found this list. I was in none of them. I do remember my first gay bar in The City though. It was the Bon Soir I was around 1966 and I was about 18 years old and thought it was the peak of elegance because it had a mirrored ball rotating on the ceiling (what do you expect from a young boy from the suburbs).

Rob

Wow, back in 1966? Was it a gay spot? I didn't think it was legal for two men to dance together back then. By the way, it was located at 40 West 8th St., a few minutes walk from where I live today.

miguel de la o

A few additions - an upper east side bar - 2nd or 3rd ave
called Camp David -- Did anyone mention Anvil and Mineshaft?? Also Cats and Stella's in the theatre district.

Al from Gramercy

Lived across the street from South Dakota. It was located on 3rd between 28th & 29th.

Anyone remember:
Beau Geste - 3rd in the 20's.
Paula's & Carr's - both in the West Village
Pharoah's near Sheridan Square
The Beaded Bag & Last Call(uptown 2nd/3rd)
Candlelight - Amsterdam in the 80's
Danny's Fisherman (Lex in the 70's)
The Round Table - 50's off Lex
Gilded Grape - 40's off 8th
Country Cousins - Upper East Side in the 70's
One Potato/Two Potato - International Stud both in West Village

Many Good Times with many Good Friends some who are now gone...but not forgotten.


Sam

Moved to big apple in 1989, I was young and gay scene was all new to me, going to village was like a trip to wonderland. Monster was my all time favourite bar, been to uncle charlie, boy bar where everybody was drinking rolling rock, so I had my first rolling rock at this place. Eagle and another place, which was underground in dark area, you check in your cloths and walk around in undies, anyone remembers the name of this place?
There was a very good dance club, which was like a movie theatre, may be straight in chelsea, than there was upscale Rounds, Gaiety in Time Square, which I visited till late 90's, Eros theatre. Time Square has completely changed now.

Rob

Sam, the place you mention being underground and dark could have been the Mineshaft, the Lure, "J's" or Hellfire, all near the Westside Highway in the vicinity of the Meatpacking District.

Sam

That place was similar to Mineshaft, it was a BDSM club, Mineshaft was closed in 1985 and I was there in 1989 or 1990.

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