For me, the old Uncle Charlies on Greenwich holds a special place in my heart. It was the first bar I'd ever set foot in back in '92 when I started grad school at NYU.
I was pretty much closeted and had never even kissed a guy, but I remember the exhilirating sense of freedom and liberation (I know...MARY!) that I felt for the first time. Addicted to that feeling, I probably went there more than I should have, but it was such an amazing experience. It's where I met the guy with whom I had my first kiss, first date and first same sex encounter. It seems so long ago, but the memories are still vivid. And it was a time before big muscles and shaving every inch of the body were in vogue. Yes, I sound old.
I also remember a place called Pieces that I went to a few times. Not sure that's still around.
Anyone else care to share their memories?
"Anyone else care to share their memories?"
That's what this site is for.
Pieces is still there. So is the Monster.
Is Julius still there? That place skeeved me out just from the outside, and I never set foot in there. I remember hearing they had great hamburgers there, but that wasn't enough motivation to get me in there.
Alex in wonderland, a little on the seedy side but what fun. Same with the Anvil!!!!
Club USA was so beautiful!
I loved the mugler room I think that's where the would play a lot
Of classic disco. Also loved going up to the roof bar in the summer
A great, great club- so much fun.
I used to like the Ninth Circle when I felt like wearing clothes, and the Mine Shaft when I didn't. I got kicked out of the Mine Shaft once for having cologne on, but I met some hot guys there. And I met the un-love of my life at the Ninth Circle.
Harry's Back East up on Third and 88th Street (?). Sweaters worn over the shoulders and tied in a knot in the front, Gucci loafers and no socks and pleated khakis pants.
In fact, you could walk up Third Avenue on the East Side from 14th Street to Harry's. Non-stop cruising. Hustlers at 52nd and 53rd Streets and married johns in cars in the 60s.
Julius is still open. I don't know it from it's heyday but it's pretty cleaned up now. Believe it or not but a monthly gay hipster party called "Mattachine" is ran there, which is how I know about this bar. It was only after someone told me about its history that I learned that it's NYC's oldest gay bar.
when did Charlies close?
Is Townhouse still open? IIRC it was the place for suit and tie happy hour in the 90's. I ended up on the west coast and never went there.
Thanks for this thread. Uncle Charlie's - Oh my Lord yes! And you couldn't dance so if anyone felt the beat of the music they would stop you. Wasn't there an Uncle Charlies on the upper east, too?
Sunday nights at Limelight with the back room up in the attic. I only went once and midblowjob felt the guy going for my wallet. And here I thought he liked me!
The Roxy, upstairs with Andy Anderson as DJ.
And I remember a huge place near FIT that was like a huge boiler room or something -- what was it called, anyone remember? I met some guy at the coat check and we had a summer long affair.
And there was a loft in the west 40's that you walked around messed around with guys in cubicles. Bumped into my married super giving head to three guys. Awkward.
Would love to know the gay bars of the 60's and 70s -- come on eldergays -- give us our history. Someone told me there was a place near the Belvedere in the west 40's called "Big Spender"
I'm still amazed that NYC has so many gay bars left.
[quote]Believe it or not but a monthly gay hipster party called "Mattachine" is ran there....
The boy bar on St. Marks Place was the 2nd gay bar I went to. The first one I mustered up the guts to go to was Boots and Saddle, which was, in 1982, totally clone. Didn't fit in there as I was kind of New Wave. Arriving at boy bar was transcendent for me.
At one point in the mid-80s there were FOUR Uncle Charlie's - Village, East Side, Upper West Side and Gramercy (I think).
I remember The Works on Columbus opp. the Planetarium. Nathan Lane was always there at the end of the bar, drunk and crying....
Which bar was the inspiration for the bar in Cruising? The Mine Shaft? I'm thinking they actually filmed there, but called the bar something else.
In Conversations with Capote, Truman talked about a gay bar called Twilight "on the East side in the Twenties."
His description was pretty surprising, especially considering the way many gay men feel about anyone over 26.
Evidently the bar was a place that was frequented, as he described, by young handsome stockbroker-types who went there to meet men the age of their fathers or even grandfathers.
R7, Harry's Back East was at about 81st Street, making it an easy commute to Charlie's Uptown, at about 74th on Lexington. The Uncle Charlie's on 37th was involved in the Bronfman kidnapping. No surprise, really; the chain belonged to Lou Katz, enforcer for Roy Cohn and alleged killer of at least one of his own boyfriends.
The Townhouse is still there, although its restaurant has closed. It is the successor to The Regent East, which was at 204 East 58th Street, an address I committed to memory well before I had the nerve to walk in. The Regent East was down a few steps, and was loaded with hunting prints, club chairs, and had a piano in the back. The lights were supplied with the pink bulbs that were typically used in funeral parlors to make the corpses look natural.
There was also Bogart's, on East 59th Street, between First and Second. The number of people walking between the two seemed as though it would justify chartering a shuttle bus.
When one graduated from the Regent East, which happened very, very late in life, one could move on to the GH Club, way over East on 53rd. Known as the Wrinkle Room, it was essentially an alcoholic assisted living facility.
Isn't Shep Smith a regular at the Townhouse?
The meat trucks over by the West Village piers is where I used to pick up all my rough trade.
Anyone else remember The Works? All those preppy boys from Boston in chinos that were two sizes too tight.
not very old, but Hannah's Lava Lounge (aka the Westerly) was a fun dive bar on 8th and 54th-ish, closed maybe 10 years ago. I worked at a nearby theatre and we would often go there between shows on matinee days. I remember they had gay bingo on Sundays, I think.
LOVED The Works, R23. Is The Candle still up there?
What about the bars in Queens, NY? I know there a bunch now in Jackson Heights/Astoria, but what about the ones that used to be in Forest Hills & Kew Gardens? Hatfields, Sunset Boulevard,...what were the others...?
I went to Stella's a few times in its last days. Lots of cute black and latino dancers/trade to flirt with. I ran into two guys from my gym who danced there: one a personal trainer and the other a really cute Brazilian guy I'd had a crush on. Fun just to be a voyeur and watch the trade interacting with potential customers.
Spike, Anvil, Mineshaft, Eagle (original0, the Lure Yum.
Uncle Charlies on Greenwich and on Christopher and on E38 & 3rd Ave.
Okay, what's with getting kicked out for wearing cologne?
Anyone know the bar used in one of the opening shots of Boys in the Band? Was it Stonewall? It's the scene where Hank goes to grab Larry and sees him flirting with some other guys. That was definitely shot on location. Just wondering which bar.
It was Julius.
The burgers at Julius rule.
OP, you sound uptight.
Kellers- on West Street, was fun on Sunday afternoons saw Mapplethorpe hang out in a corner, and met a guy I saw in the documentary Word is Out.
Rounds - E. 50-something and 3rd, where a friend and I used to go to try to get johns. the two room basement bar was way over-air conditioned, a super hot bartender named Chris competed in some 'Mr. Gay' contest, and a chanteuse warbled at the piano. antsy rent boys used to circle the bar like sharks, among the tire kicking looky-lou johns. my friend, standing with an over priced drink in his hand once drifted off to sleep and fell to the floor
The Lure - meatpacking district, the strict dress code prevented me from going in with my sneakers, but I was meeting someone there so I waited outside.
all their 'loaner' boots were being used, so I sat on a platform and scanned guys feet, looking for a pair of sneakers coming out of the bar, which would signal a pair of loaner boots had just become available.
before I knew it I was really liking just watching men's feet, and didn't even look up to see who they were attached to.
Wasn't Marcia Johnson an angel? She once told me she had been in Rikers for a while and I told that was a shame and I felt bad for her. She looked me in the eye and said "Don't you worry about me honey-Rikers is where men are men".
I first remember going to Uncle Charlies in '79 (It was the same year I got sober so I was probably was there before that, but with all my blackouts I just can't remember). They had two men's rooms. There was a ladies' room door but it was actually an exit door that led to the street.
The first bar I recall was in the '60's somewhere near or on East 53 where I saw two men kiss and I burst out laughing out of embarrassment because I had never seen anything like that anywhere (I had had sex before that time whrn I was in H.S.,but kissing never occured to us.)
Private Eyes!!!! The best music and hottest men!
Before Uncle Charlie's on Greenwich Avenue, it known as The Steak Joint. Now it's Fiddlesticks
The Yukon on East 53rd was replaced by an office tower. Jerry Fitzpatrick was the handsome, hot, hairy muscular bartender.
He moved on to The Coven, Hudson near Charles. Later it became Ruby Fruit. Now Swine, a restaurant specialzing in pork.
R28, the Mine Shaft and its poseurs were Damned Serious about Their Leather. Anything that didn't fit into that little way of looking at things was forbidden, including cologne, and a hell of a lot of clothing that wasn't black, navy, or dark.
You could sometimes get away with wearing Polo, I have been told, but I wore Eau Sauvage.
Sally's Hideaway, a drag/TG/male strip club on West 43rd. Originally between 7th and 8th Avenues but later moved down the street to the notorious Hotel Carter. Dorian Corey used to emcee there, and the opening and closing scenes of [italic]Paris Is Burning[/italic] were shot outside the original location.
The greatest hustler bar ever - Cowboys and Cowgirls. Rounds, the Phoenix - Puerto Rican hustlers near 14th and 9th Ave. The Sewer, The East Four Seven (with Houston Allred on the piano), Mona's Royal Roast (strictly Cherry Grove queens), The Toilet (for the golden shower set), Christopher's End (indeed), Kellers (better leather scene than the Eagle's Nest), Nickel Bar (hot black men looking at each other). Those were the days, my friend...
Anyone remember this sleezy dive called Red that was, I think, on 55th and 2nd a few years back that had twinky latino dancers?
I used to love Ox on 11th, and Mangrope that was somewhere in Murray Hill. But my fave was the basement bar under Shelly's Wine Table, which at one time was called Lester's Glamour and then just changed to the Rock Hole.
A distinct memory of going to the 9th Circle when I was about 20 on a Friday night in June. I had seen a report that evening on WCBS about a gay cancer. I asked an older friend about it. I couldn't pronounce the name (karposi sarcoma). He said I was nuts.
Guys started dying soon after.
There are not many gay guys my age in NYC (52), at least not nearly as many as there should be.
Uncle Charlie's on Greenwich was always my favorite.
It was a fun place to go and especially for the comedy stand up clips they'd show on the big screen. It made the experience more fun than just hanging out in a gay bar. It was the first time I ever saw Roseanne (shows how long ago it was).
I used to find The Saint too intense or something like that. Creepy, maybe.
There was another place on Varick St (nr. Carmine) that I liked. It was more of a dance place than a gay bar. Can't remember the name.
In fact I can't remember the names of anywhere else, just roughly where they were.
The bOy Bar was fun. I had friends who used to perform there.
There was a place on Ave A (nr 7th St) that wasn't gay but a lot of gays went, where there were performances and fat ugly women on the bar doing go-go dancing. Anyone who lived in NY in the 80s would remember it. I can't believe I've forgotten its name. I used to love it ...I remember now...Pyramid.
It pretty much depopulated the Village, didn't it, R44?
Yes. Christopher on a Friday and Saturday was like a big party, just jammed with men.
It got really empty and sad for a long time. It was one of the reasons Chelsea took off. The guys who were left couldn't take it anymore.
God, what I wouldn't give to have been in my prime in NYC in the 70s! It sounds like so much fun, and so deliciously seedy.
[quote]It was one of the reasons Chelsea took off. The guys who were left couldn't take it anymore.
So they moved twenty blocks?
I moved to fucking London (& I'm still here).
R48, one of the best parts of my life is that I was able to live in NY during the '70s. LA, too.
Thanks for doing so, R49.
The Nickel Bar on West 72 street between Columbus & Amsterdar. Hot black men indeed!
UWS: The Wildwood (a.k.a The Wedgwood) Jasper's/Main Main on Columbus. Boot Hill on Amsterdam.
I remember just about all of these places, and spent way too much time in many of them. Quite literally fresh off the farm, I walked into Julius' one summer night in the mid-seventies and spent the next decade sampling whatever New York had to offer. I would come in from the suburbs after work on a Friday afternoon, and with the kindness of strangers, stay through the weekend.
Having been told qrowing up that I was dumb and ugly, I was a quick learner. I adopted the preppie clone look - tight chinos, polos in every color, and penny loafers. Got me everywhere, except the Mine Shaft, where I was unceremoniously evicted one night. From the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties, with hundreds of "tricks" and a few short-lived relationships, I have lots of great stories and no regrets. I think that my innocence saved my life since I never really got into what later became known as unsafe sex.
I still stop off at Julius' a few times a year. The crud and cobwebs are gone, pretty much, but the burgers are still great.
I loved the piano bars - Marie's Crisis, the Duplex, Brandy's, etc. My favorite was The Five Oaks with Miss Marie Blake at the piano.
...Down in the depths
On the ninetieth floor!
[quote]There are not many gay guys my age in NYC (52), at least not nearly as many as there should be.
They're there, they're just avoiding you. You're obviously nasty.
wonder bar was great!
r52 was the Nickle bar nick named 'Nairobi Lounge?' I'm not being a smartass, that's the nickname of some bar I had gone to up in that area back in the 80's.
also, what was the scary/sad hustler looking bar on West Street above Christopher Street? for some reason Sneakers comes to mind
The Cell Block on 11th near West. Named for the former prison on the corner that became co-ops.
Is anyone going to explain the cologne?
R38 did explain the cologne, R59. It's not that unheard of, most leather bar used to have a pretty strict dress code (no sneakers, no khaki pants, etc...) that often would extend to wearing cologne, perceived as unmasculine and too "precious".
R59, please read R38
[quote] the Mine Shaft and its poseurs were Damned Serious about Their Leather.
How is that being a poseur that they didn't want perfume ruining all that nice leather?
R62, is it incorrect to call people who literally stand around posing "poseurs"? It may be. It may only mean "pretenders." I struggled with it before pushing "save post," but decided to go with it.
Because I never saw such posing, *literal posing*, in my life as I saw at the Mine Shaft. It was like being in a bad play or a static photo shoot on the set of "Cruising."
I found it difficult at times not to laugh out loud at some of these Mine Shaft queens. This one guy in wet leather and Levis (piss?), with his dick and balls hanging out, leaning on a post, offering a faceful of Serious Leather Attitude, really cracked me up one night. He tried to have me thrown out for laughing at him. Thankfully, I was with someone else, and I said I was laughing at something my friend said, and the bouncer let me stay.
Laughing was obviously verboten at the Mine Shaft. But oh, the posing.
King. I spent a good chunk of the mid 90's hanging out there...
There was also a great dive bar in the east village called Dick's or Dickies?? It's gone now.
I got deadly drunk with my then lover at Uncle Charlies back in the early 80s and then somehow got home to New Jersey late New Year's Eve.
No one has mentioned The Gilded Grape on 8th Avenue. God, that place was fun.
Does any one else remember Dean Johnson's Pubic Hair Club for men? It wasn't a club but one night a week at a west side hwy location.
I loved uncle Charlie's. the works. Monster. Roxy. Townhouse. Rounds. Bogarts. Always a fun night out in the city. The bars of Chelsea on 8 th ave were lots of fun. Ramrod. Billy's.
r63: I once heard the Mineshaft referred to as the ultimate S&M Bar - "Stand and Model".
Is View Bar on 8th Ave still around? When Chelsea was the IT place to live about 10 years ago, I'd go there once in a while, sit near the opening, and watching the 8th Ave parade of hot guys.
I miss the Three of Clubs - a tiny little place in the basement of an old brownstone on 75th between Broadway and West End.
Sadly, no, the View closed quite some time ago. It was one of my favorites for a long time. The massage night on Sundays was my fucking favorite thing EVER.
Sunday afternoon in the late 70's and 80's was always fun. We'd either do Christopher Street Ty's and then stroll down to Badlands and lean against the building outside holding a can of beer in a certain way against the thigh that was meant to look way butch.
Or for a change go uptown to The Works for beer blast.
El Hombre in back of Port Authority. Dear sweet jesus was that hellhole something else. Low-rent (as in sub-basement) hustler bar where you were more likely to get mugged than hook up.
I read about in Interview Magazine as being a place that Jean-Paul Gaultier liked so I went. Naive little homo that i was. Not more than 10 minutes after getting there, some guy pulls a knife on me in the bathroom. Luckily the bartender - big puerto rican guy - came barreling in, knocked the shit out of the guy and threw him out. He then bought me a few drinks at the bar.
We ended up dating for a couple of months. ha. What a crazy crazy time.
I know NYC is safer now, but I really do miss how crazy, unpredictable and dangerous it could be. Sigh.
I guess no one misses Sneaker? Down on the West Side Highway. It was something out of a Jean Genet novel.
And I'm still going to Pieces!
Anyone recall the name of the bar on the south side of 73rd or 74th between Broadway and West End? IIRC, it as a few steps down.
I used to like the Works on the UWS - I can no longer remember the exact address. It was a fun place. It closed some years ago.
How long ago, R78?
I remember a motorcycle bar on the south side of W. 75th IIRC, in 1975-76. I lived on 75th, and I used to pass it the time. I never went in because I was afraid I'd get raped on the pool table.
I don't remember the name, though.
R79, the Works was on Columbus, around 80th-81st. I had an ex who lived on E. 80th. He used to take cabs to 79th and Columbus to go to the Works so the cab driver wouldn't know he was gay.
Hence the "ex" status.
R78 and R80 - see R73.
As much as I like to say how much I wish I came of age during the 70s and 80s, it's probably a great thing that I didn't as I know I probably would be dead now.
There really isn't any discernible gay area anymore in NYC. Even walking down 8th Avenue is completely different. There's more yuppie stroller mamas now than anything else.
Is Ty's still open on Christopher Street? How about Boots and Saddles? (aka "Bras and Girdles")
Save the Robots was a favorite of mine as well as Tunnel. Lots of first time experiences at those places.
Someone on another thread said that the actor who played Uncle Vic on Queer as Folk was a regular at the Works.