Gotham Gay Bars 101—Listen Up, Class

Categories: Gaaaaayyyyyy

If you want to know the history of gay bars in New York, just ask ME, honey. I was there when the first bottle of Poppers was inhaled back at the Garden of Eden, where the snake wore a really fierce headband and danced around to "Lady Bump" while trying to log on to manhunt. But after that, it's all kind of a blur, and the truth is that if you remember Studio 54, then you weren't actually there. (And that wasn't really a gay bar anyway. It was 5% straight and/or closeted.) So let's instead rely on this lovely link to a site that painstakingly details the history of gay bars in NYC from 1900 to the present, even though they've stolen the site name I was just going to trademark—bitterqueen! While you read it, please wear a leather harness and swish around to Doris Day music, then pretend a butch policeman is raiding your apartment and locking you up for some REAL gay nightlife. Then head out to Barracuda and pretend it's 54.

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http://www.bitterqueen.typepad.com/



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28 comments
RickyB
RickyB

Hi Michael - The bitterqueen.com site is not accessible. I'd read his article on History Of Gay Bars In New York last year and was shocked at all the Mafia references. Do you have ANY idea where I can access that article again? THANKS!

Rbert
Rbert

I used to go to the village and hang on the stoops for hours go to Washington Square and end up at 'Freddy and Ashly's' "Chalice" near Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village, those were some tripped out days after all I was 13 or 14 years old. The Chalice was my favorite spot, I particularly miss my old friend John Graves. My old friend Andrew Wargo used to go there as well. I remember a bartender named Shirley. Many people died of aids or drug overdose from that era, the lucky ones survived intact. That was a different New York, long gone, time to move on. But it was sure cool reminiscing.

Anonymous
Anonymous

how about the morrocan village on west 8th street

Anonymous
Anonymous

does any one remember the drag shows at the gold bug

Dallas D
Dallas D

The first gay bar I ever entered was the Bon Soir in the village in November 1967. I was on a trip with some straight friends and after they went to their hotel room, I explored. On later trips I found the Mine Shaft, the trucks, the Gold Bug, Julius, the Eagle and others I can't remember. I wish I could go back. I live now in the same small town I lived in back then, btw. Lebanon, PA.

Larry
Larry

I was 19 years old when I discovered the Gold Bug and I was just coming out! I saw a little Latin boy, named Timmy and fell in love. In those days (1969-1970) we danced to the jukebox. I followed Timmy around town but never really connected in the way I wanted. Other memorable people I met were "Mother Charlie", "Crazy Richie", "Pussy Act Charlie" Dwight and Don from Staten Island. I wish I could see them all now! (maybe not..lol). I went to the 9th Circle many times, an after hours club up on 53th called Calabash, of course Julius', and the short lived but fabulous club in midtown called the "Sanctuary" an old church turned disco! In 1971 I met my first boyfriend George at the Gold Bug and started to spend more time clubbing in Northern NJ as gay bars began to open.anyone remember the Gold Bug please email melarryjcanter@aol.com

jshdoff
jshdoff

The Chalice was so NOT a juice bar, although I got juiced there for years. I remember it back in 1975 or 75? I was right out of high school, the boys were beautiful, especially the hustlers and I was queen of the fag hags. I loved that bars. The Chalice, The Haymarket, the GrapeVine, Johns Joynt... The Chalic is Smalls Jazz club now....

check it out http://thedirtygirldiaries.com...

Kelly
Kelly

I used to work @ The Haymarket(47th & 8th) and The Grape Vine (45th &6th).Would love to find "survivors" of that era and those bars 2 bars.Maybe re-connect with some old friends.

Bill B
Bill B

Hi, yes I remember the Chalice on Christopher st, It was down a flight of stairs near 7th avenue I was only in there once with my 19 yr old b/f , he stated he felt old in there, it looked like Romper room with a juke box, If I remember correctly it was a juice bar. When the Chalice closed the crowd moved to Uncle Paul's then up to Cowboy/Cowgirl's on East 53 rd. I moved away from NYC on a recent trip back the first thing I noticed on a return trip recently was the lack of the thousands of Limo's and Times Square looking like Disneyland. they'll never be another place like the Village in the 70's. the wild bar's with back room's, all the Village character's and my outrageous rent of $600 per month for a 2 br apt. that seem's laughable now.

tk nagano
tk nagano

ny has the best gay bars beside la i'am big fan of cosmos bar in little tokyo the best gay bar in la!

Liz
Liz

Hunny, I know how far back you go (as far as I do) and there was no Internet. ;)

Jonster
Jonster

Hey there. I can hardly pull my nose out of the site you posted on the history of gay bars. I think I read about the Chalice on Sheridan Square but never went there. My era was the exact time described in Dancer from the Dance. Sybills was still on the corner of 9th and 6th and then it became something else. The Ninth Circle, which was across Greenwich Ave and down a ways was hot. Lou Reed looking for Lola. The Stud, from Torch Song, back room and all was close to the trucks and the hulking black piers still lined the waterfront in the shadow of the decrepit West Side Highway. A row of leather bars extended to either side of Christopher St., real raunchy. I liked Harry's Back East and the Tambourine uptown. Le Cocu was a lot of fun, straight and gay. The Townhouse at 37th & Park was open for exactly five minutes. "Dancing" Danny's on 7th near Sheridan Square and regular Danny's on Christopher. Then the 10th Floor and David's Loft. David Mancuso still throws parties. Yow, I'm exhausted. I left town and missed Paradise Garage, the Flamingo, Area, and the rest. Damn.

musto
musto

thanks, jonster. I loved hearing about le jardin. I thought I knew it all, nightlife-wise. It sounds grand. I had heard about it when I started clubbing but it was already gone. thanks for sharing--and please spill on other clubs of the era. Sybill's? Regine's?

Jonster
Jonster

Oooooh. Michael it was wonderful. It's on that disco-disco site. I want to say it was around the same time as the Tenth Floor and David's Loft. Le Jardin was in the Hotel Diplomat on 43rd and you walked through a curtained-off coffee shop downstairs into the basement. It was very much like what I imagined 54 to be like later (I moved to LA and was dancing to KC & the Sunshine Band at Studio One in WeHo by then). It was very luxe and louche and consisted of two levels, the basement and the penthouse. You reached the penthouse by getting into an elevator. The basement was basically a huge dance floor. The penthouse had a white grand piano under a pin spot, a small stage, and a huge white marble bar that stretched the entire length of the room. You could only order fruit drinks upstairs but they had a roofdeck with waterbeds! Now get that scarf out of your mouth Lindsay and put on some clothes!!!!! XO PS - I found the Gold Bug on that site you posted!!!

musto
musto

Jonster, tell me about Le Jardin. I always wondered.

Jonster
Jonster

GREAT LINK! Thank you. My first was the Gold Bug opposite NYU, and then the Firehouse directly through the campus to Wooster St. Le Jardin! Now there was a disco. And the old Limelight in Sheridan Square (not the church). You can check out some others here as well... www.disco-disco.com

The Late Tallulah Bankhead
The Late Tallulah Bankhead

Michael dahling, I'm sorry you missed the Barrel House (although your Great-Uncle Tony might have picked up a few tricks there) because it was a heavenly place for a few apres-theatre cocktails. I saw a charming Albanian sailor fellate the entire Third Precinct police squad one night. In fact, I pitched in and helped!

musto
musto

It was everything it was cracked up to be--with the emphasis on crack.

zandra's shadow
zandra's shadow

What was Studio 54 really like, Mr M? Was it all hype?

Dat2disc
Dat2disc

Thought I would ask again...........Does anyone know how to get a name and password to enter the site bitterqueen@typepad.com to read "The History Of Gar Bars In New York?" THANKS!

Tampabound52
Tampabound52

I was a regular at the Hay Market..>Duke, Morty, etc...drop me a line and let me know ..Charles from South Carolina, Jack teh Hat, Danny, Sully, John, drop me a line

Sweetchariot
Sweetchariot

Hi Kelly, I was a frequent customer of both the Haymarket & Gilded Grape. I remember Emma (the real woman) who worked the day shift at the Gilded Grape on 45th and 8th Ave. In the evening, Timmy Scott would host the drag shows which were wonderful.  At the Haymarket, my dear friend Michael was a bartender. I have an old pic of him and I at the bar there. I loved the back room as I was a young tg back then but the memories are all good! Love to hear back from you.

Affectionately, Miss Cookie

jshdoff
jshdoff

I do! The Chalice was owned by Freddy Warren and Ashley Taylor. Now it's Small's Jazz club, but the most beautiful hustlers hung at the Chalice...after they closed they reopened, without my success in the East Village.  But the original location, on West 10th Street, was amazing.

Ambrose Mclean
Ambrose Mclean

Apparently I'm not the only one trying desperately to get a password to bitterqueen but I feel we are much too late! I'm not sure why it is so difficult to find gay history for establisments of old.

Tampabound52
Tampabound52

me too regular at teh hey market knew Morty, Duke, Charles Danny, etc...would love to hear from others too

Dat2disc
Dat2disc

Hi, Ambrose - I'm guessing foul play.........but maybe that's just because of all the illegal references in the piece. I wondered if he (or whoever that bitter queen was!) got in trouble for saying "too much". Perhaps just MY overactive imagination at work but I've always wondered why it suddenly disappeared. It was such an extensive research project on his part. If I hear of anything, I'll post it here.

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