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Lee Lord

Wow these bars bring back memories. Most of them I remember and many I had been to. My first gay bar...I read their ad in Screw Magazine, was the Red Swing on 25th and Lex. I was scared shitless even to enter but did after walking around the block. I was 24 and not out as yet. Later I hung out at Harry Back East, one of Gwen Saunders and Judy Triaz' bars. I knew and frequented all of the Uncle Charlies. I worked at Uncle Charlie's Restaurant, first as a coat check, then waiter, then a manager. It was located on 36 & 3rd. That was a Lew Katz owned establishment as well as all the other Uncle Charlies although Bob Sloate owned Uncle Charlies on 38th and 3rd. Another not mentioned was Country Cousin from the 70's and 80's. It was a restaurant/bar on 3rd and about 74th, also owed by Lew Katz... and Jimmy Merry (who owned the Ice Palace on Fire Island, and the Ice Palace Disco on 57th and 11th Ave). Others not mentioned were two of my favorite mostly gay Discos... 12 West on 12th and West Sts, and Flamingo on West Broadway. Any one remember "The Trucks" on West St under the highway and The Book Store on Christopher? What an era that was. Lee L.

Mike Jarosz

I came to NYC for college in 1967. I discovered a bar on Bleecker St The Back Fence that catered to the 18-21 crowd because NY had an 18 drinking age while surrounding states were all 21. There I made friends with a waitress named Carol. We got to be good friends. I think she knew more about me than I did myself. One night I hung around until the end of her shift. She invited me to a bar around the corner on 3rd St. the Gold Bug. Edgar Allan Poe is supposed to have lived there once. It turned out to be a really jumpin' joint. They had a drag troupe called Mom's Greenery, sometimes they passed out free hot dogs or pizza, and oh, I almost forgot, it was a gay bar! Instead of panicking, I fit right in. I started going there by myself. Eventually, Carol told me that I was ready to go across the street to the 10th of Always. Wow" What a cast of characters. As far as I know, this is the only time I have ever seen a drag king. But Carol (who turned out to be gay herself) helped launch my gay persona and I never looked back, nor have I ever had any regrets. I spent the next decades in many of the bars mentioned in this website and the comments that follow.

The time between the Stonewall and AIDS was a golden era to be gay in NYC and I was there. And I partied!


Wow, that's a gold mine of memories - three bars I'd never heard of. Thank for your story, Mike!

Kari Grinager

Does anyone remember Tory's - afterhours club on the Eastside, late 1980's.


So much of it is gone, a generation lost in space. We went mainstream and our waterholes went away. Thank you all for sharing. I was late to the party. Caught the tail end of Splash, loved me some rawhide. Monster was always welcoming. I lament the passing of the Era. It defined a good long generation. Bless those who have passed. Thank you to all who twirled and danced the night away.


What a great article. I've never lived in NYC, but have tried - vicariously - through articles like this, books, TV shows, and movies. I was VERY excited to see you included "The Works." I've asked SOOOO many people about it, but no one seemed to remember it - lol, I was starting to believe I had the wrong name. I went there on a Sunday night in the later 80's; what prompted me to go there was a $5.00 Beer Bust - I'm a true cheap-ass, lolol. Because of the great deal, it was UBER CROWDED - shoulder-to-shoulder - and I only got one order in before I gave up and decided to leave; however, I did get my money's worth when I met a handsome guy on the way out(lol, we'll just leave it at that). Lastly, I was so sad to the see the demise of "Rawhide." When I was there in September 2012, right before Sandy, the bartender told me they would be closing when their lease ran out, since the new owners would be raising the rent exponentially - I was SO HOPING they'd be able to stay. Thanks again.

Blond Frankie

I'm Blond Frankie from the stonewall the original doorman.boy I could tell you about all the gay bars in the early 60s until the late 80s.I remember when they would raid the bars at least once a week. My first bar I went to was the (fawn) And the cherry lane.the first bar I worked in was the blue bunny,that was on 47th.between
6th&7th Ave. THE next one was the Moroccan village on
8th st.then across the street at the bonsoir,then the stonewall then Danny's,then Badlands,then the Haymarket
Last was Harry's back east.then recent East.

Antonio James Scrittorale

You forgot some of the most notable early clubs Sanctuary, Roundtable (East 50th Street 3 Ave), Townhouse (East 37th Street & Park) Tamburlaine (might of spelled that wrong), Fiddlestix (2nd or 1st Ave 78th Street it's been awhile) I worked as a waiter in Townhouse and Fiddlestix. 12 West Paradise Garage, and Queens' well know place the Alley on 37th Ave and 74th Street) not to forget the Ginza, the Jungle, Le Jardin, the Peppermint Lounge. These are only a few you missed there are others. I guess I'm a bit older than you and have a deeper memory of the good-ol'-days of the 70's-early 80's


There was a gay bar/dance club for a short while on 18th or 19th St. between Fifth and Sixth Aves, Warsaw. It was supposed to be the sister club of Warsaw Ballroom in South Beach. The early or mid 1990's if I remember correctly. The one in South Beach was huge. The one here was decorated like a locker room and not big at all.


This was a great read. Thank you, Mr. Frydlewicz.

Does anyone remember the name of the bar on 9th Avenue, between 55th and 56th Street, in the middle of the block on the east side of the street? It was there for much of the 1980's, at least. There was a small balcony in the back, and a large 0 shaped bar in the front. The cruising there was tremendous. I had great times there and now I'm so g.d. old I can't remember the name of the place.

Billy's? In Chelsea? Were you even possibly in Billy's Topless on Sixth Avenue at 24th Street? Broadening horizons, perhaps?


I've been going to NYC since my early 20s and after coming out in London when working as a nurse on an AIDS ward, New York was an adventure. I remember fun times in the Limelight, Twilo, Milk bar, all male jewell theatre (for other reasons) and many a fun time in Splash with the hot barmen, Lady Bunny etc. I had a hot encounter with a banker in ROME bar which is very memorable - he left messages for me at the YMCA that I was staying at. More recently I stayed in the Larchmont or Chelsea Pines Inn and have always loved the Chelsea area. They've all gone now and the scene has moved to Hell's kitchen but I'll always have fond and hot memories of those other bars - I'm 45 now! Thanks for listing them as I had forgotten the name of some.


From one Rob to another, thanks for sharing your experiences. You mentioned Hell's Kitchen, and I hope you've explored that neighborhood because there are at least ten bars and clubs there. It's hoppin', even if it lacks the charm of the Village.

Uncle Paul

There was an Uncle Charlies on Lexington in the 70s - both the street and the years. A block east on Third ave was Country Cousin bar/restaurant with great burgers. The two bars had great "meat" and could satisfy your hungers for a night. Looking back to those decades it seems the upper East Side offered quite a variety of bars as I arrived.s in the neighborhood.

I wish I could find more who patronized that early Uncle Charlies. It seems that the name (if not the owners and locations) is near a fifty year anniversary.

Uncle Paul

I have to claim a bit of gay bar history by having a drawing of mine on the wall of Julius bar in the Village. It's there because I developed a crush on a bartender there in 1977 - God - 40 years ago. His name was Gary Wellman and I know because I found his name in an old calendar. I gave him the drawing when I heard he might be leaving the bar. Many, many years later I was in the bar and saw my framed drawing on the wall to the left of the rear door. It's a drawing of nude guys drinking at the tables in the front of the bar next to the window with the Julius name on it. Gary added a lot to the bar!!!


Wow. Such a great article. My first NYC gar bar experience was at Uncle Charlie's in 1987. It was the weekend before I left for Basic Training at Ft Knox. I met a guy named Michael and we ended up spending the entire weekend together. He was beautiful. I've thought about him many times over the years. He was a bartender there. I remember saying goodbye at Port Authority before catching my bus back home to Atlantic City. I lost his number. It killed me. Lol.


Excellent article, it's a shame NYC's Gay scene has changed so much. So many good people, places, parties, events & atmosphere. Wish we could turn back the hands of time sometimes.
This is in reply to Sam's comment 7/2015-Sorry it's a little late-re: Movie Theater/Dance club was a pheromonel place & yes very very liberal. I'm pretty sure it was called "sho" or "Show". One Sundat afternoon we end up @ Rawhide & ended up meeting then hanging with Dave the bartender. Long story short- went went with him & some of his friends (hot guys/models-supposedly straight??) to XL. We left XL-nothing happening- and someone suggested "Sho" so we went & it wasn't far from XL. We had one of the very best nights in NYC!! The "Straight" models/guys met there girlfriends there but the girlfriends insisted the "guys" enjoy & have fun-they wanted to drink & smoke. Yes smoking was banned in NYC but not there-just about anything went & without any attitude.
I've tried researching "Show" or "Sho" but can't find anything. If anyone finds anything: info/pics etc please let me know.
Thank for the memories!
Ron (grlodge107@gmail.com)

bill bohaboy

how about the alamo on 58th and 8th ave, or the cellblock, keller,s, the moose head in brooklyn, piano bar on montague st brooklyn hts


Does anyone remember a bar in the West 50's called 'The Candy Store" It had a famous spiral staircase !

Al M

Anyone remember the Fireside Inn ( across from London Terrace ) or Gracie Mansion in Brooklyn Heights ?


Thank you for your article, Rob. Found it tonight because I just saw "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical" in La Jolla, that's opening on Broadway in April. It's a fun show & your readers will enjoy the music. It brought back a lot of memories including Barefoot Boy, which led to your article. Born & raised in Manhattan, started going to gay bars at 15 in 1974. First bar was 9th Circle in the village but went to many in your article before going to college in 1977 and moving to California. Started skipping high school parties for gay bars instead and went to bath houses too on weekends - Man's Country on 15th St., Club Baths on 1st Ave and 2nd street, both better than the St. Marks which seemed too run down. Some wild times growing up hung, young and horny in the pre-AIDS NYC scene. One time went dancing with a friend who was dressed down and he took me to a club where they wanted me to check my clothes. Almost left but my friend said let's go in anyway. It was the Mineshaft and first time I saw live fist fucking. I remember the Anvil had some wild scenes too. Was lucky to get out before most people got sick. Thanks for the reader comments, which reminded me of many places too. Mark


Thanks for your sharing your experiences Mark. I'm looking forward to the Donna Summer musical. By the way, if you haven't already come across it I've also written a post about my experiences at the baths.
Happy New Year!


Hi Rob, I was hoping you could help me - I noticed you mentioned Boy Bar and was wondering if you or any of your readers had any contact info with anyone who had worked there (or knew anyone that knew someone), perhaps a bartender, manager, promoter, or even just a regular there. For context, I'm trying to get more information on the singer Q Lazzarus, who played a lot of nights at Boy Bar back in the '80s and '90s. If you have any info or anything at all you could share I'd greatly appreciate it! Even if it's just some stories about your experiences there, anything helps!
Thanks so much,


Should be a mention of the Cell Block - West 11th street. Upstairs after hours and herded back downstairs during legit hours. Spent entire weekends in that dive and what fun! Thank you for your article. Oh, I do recall the Firehouse @ 99 Wooster. $3 cover charge and all the free beer one can piss out.


The Works was my go to bar, since I used to live nearby. Their all you can drink Sunday night beer blast used to leave me with many a Monday hangover.


I worked Page and Crisco Disco late 70s and early 80s. My local bar was South Dakota on 3rd Avenue and I messed up a real good chance with a bartender there as I drank way too much then. he was the greatest

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