1950 - 2000

Fifty Years of Gay Life in the Greater Sacramento, California Area 1950 – 2000

From the mind of Melba, et al
(eat your heart out J.C.)

In conjunction with:

Lady Charles
Mattress Mary aka Market Street Myrtle
Miss Rykoff

Copyright 2007/2008/2009

Notes: Guys (G), Girls (L), Mixed (M)

Chapter 1 – Setting the stage


Melba was born in Sacramento in 1942. So many of us knew that we were very different from a very early age. Melba recalls being 4 years old and realizing that difference. Melba came out while in the U.S. Army stationed in Korea in 1965. It was surreal! Nice, but very strange…

From this point on I’ll just use “I’ instead of repeating “Melba”.

After coming out in the service and returning to Sacramento, my first gay bar was the Hide & Seek, but I just sat in my car the first time. The second time, I did enter. I was very scared and nervous going into the bar, but after going there a couple of times I was much more relaxed. And, then I really enjoyed my new suroundings!!

Starting in the mid-1970's I gave some rather infamous Halloween parties. Loaded with lots of gay fun!!! In the mid-1980's those parties moved to Nurse Miller's house. Do you remember the Madison Avenue Walk?

Lady Charles

Mattress Mary aka Market Street Myrtle

Miss Rykoff

Chapter 2 – Sacramento County

“The Tubs”

Steve’s Health Club
(from the 1977 Phone Book)
2551 – 5th Street
(just off Broadway)
May have also been called, “The Waterworks”?
Just off Broadway and I think on 5th Street.
Sacramento, CA
(see below for today, parking lot for the City)

“The Bars”
(please help with some of the names) (each bar had its "hey-day" and they all had draw at one time or another)

A bar on K Street between 13th and 14th Street, maybe.

Another bar close to 28th and Broadway (late 1980’s)

St. ??? bar (An Irish name) that was mostly gay, but very quiet neighborhood bar (I think on I Street, Sacramento, CA)

A Girls bar - name is unknown right now, but someone out there will remember it.
On the corner of 15th and F Streets.

Can't remember the name, but on the Fair Oaks curve at Manzanita, just west of the Montana. I think it was owned by Joyce Abreu - who had the picture framing galleries in town, but Bill thinks I am wrong about that. Lots of women, but men were welcomed. Would have been mid-70s, as I'm fairly certain it was there when I moved here. Probably closed by '80.

another bar, as yet unnamed (G)
Owner was Fay
Right across the street from the above bar

The Atticus(?)
(place on El Camino owned by a woman - short with blond hair -- now what was her name - ah, I think it was Fay(e))
Near the corner of either Walnut or Mission and El Camino, Sacramento, CA

Axel Bar (G)
On ? 21st and S Streets? near Sac Bee bldg.
Owned by a younger (than us anyway) man of that name. May have had another name prior to Axel buying it. Leather/Levi crowd. Late 70s early 80s - rather short lived if we remember correctly, but a fun place. He was partner of John????? who was a law professor at McGeorge - both died early of AIDS.

Blue Moon (L)
Franklin near Broadway
James remembers -- "it changed hands a few times, too...but I had been there a couple times in the early eighties."

This club's first name was "Bojangles"
Was on Folsom Blvd. (197?-????)(M)
Now it is Club Bojangles Sacramento (19??-Today)
1119 – 21st Street
(located inside Club 21)
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Bolt (G, 199?-and still open today in 2009) which was The Jockettes (L, 199?-199?)
In (North) Sacramento near Del Paso and El Camino Blvds.
2560 Boxwood
(see below for today)

Buffalo Club (L)
1831 "S" Street
Sacramento, CA

Club 21 (M)
(been here for many, many years; went gay in 19?? And still going strong in 2007)
1119 – 21st Street
Sacramento, CA 95816

From Bob T.: During the 1970's, in Sacramento, there was the Cruz-In II, also owned by Don & Ben, ACROSS FROM PLAZA PARK. The bar across from Plaza Park had several different gay owners and names, however, I cannot remember the earlier ones. Ernie Brown might remember?

The Depot (G) – was called The Western went gay in 19??-today
(across the street from Faces)
(with a newer bar next door called "Badlands")
20th and K Streets, Sacramento, CA
(see below for today)

Faces (M)(198? – today)
(The old Christie’s Elbow Room; Wm M Christie)
2000 K Street
(On the corner of K and 20th Street)
(see the link below for today's look)
(anybody have a post card or photo of when this place was Christie's Elbow Room???)

Forum then Cleo’s
(Chuck was the owner with Jimmy as a silent partner)
(was Cleopatra's, owned by Zorba the Greek, next to The Parking Lot)
2840 Auburn, Blvd., Sacramento, CA
Barbara gave and hosted the "White Christmas Ball" at this location.
(see below for today)

The Fury Lounge (G) (197?-19??)
(First owner was Glenn then Fay(e), at least we think it was Fay(e))
On Fair Oaks Blvd at the Triangle)
(couldn’t find a phone book listing for 1972, 1973 or 1974)
(see below for today)

Jammin Joe’s (L) (199?-19??)
2721 Broadway
Sacramento, CA

King of Clubs - on "X" St maybe in the "teens" streets.
First floor store front business in old Victorian bldg.
Kind of fun sleazy crowd. Probably late 70s early 80s.
Don't know who owned it, and yet another one that didn't last very long.

The Mercantile (G) (19?? to today)
(30 Year Celebration, October 7, 2007)
(first owner – Ernie Brown)
(on 20th between L and Capitol)
(see below for today)
Remember "Digit"? I hear she is still alive and kickin'. You go Digit!!

The Metro (M) (197?-19??)
(next to the Esquire Theater downstairs)
(I remember the pulsating music)
(Formally Zorba the Greek’s)
1225 K Street, Sacramento, CA
(see below for today)

The Mirage L/M
601 - 15th Street
Sacramento, CA

Montana Saloon then Joseph’s Montana Saloon (G, M) (197? – 19??)

(Barry and Holly first owners then Joseph with Chuck being the last owner)
7600 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks, CA
(1974 phone book gives the street number as 7604)
(Entertainers – Michael Greer, a very funny man, 1938 or 1943?-2002)
Michael Greer – December 1977

After the show my friend Tony and I ran into Michael at Jack-In-The-Box.

(see below for Joseph's Montana today - Club Capri)

Joseph’s (G, M)
1454 Del Paso Blvd. at Canterbury
(North) Sacramento, CA
(see below for today)

Joseph's Town and Country venues. Also had other locations.
- in forever changing brand hotel at I80 and Fulton, short lived
- on Auburn Blvd on Marconi curve. Large sprawling multi rooms - catered to everything and everyone.
- SE corner of Watt and Marconi, first the TC venue, then across parking lot the first Bolt Bar.

The Parking Lot (G, M) (19??-198? or maybe late 70’s)
(Mark Spitz trained in the Olympic pool - yes, before it became gay - rats Blanche!!)
(on Auburn Blvd. and today it is a parking lot)
(Entertainers – Pat Montclaire-deceased)
(see below for today it really is a parking lot)

From Bob T.: There was a bar on I Street between 20th & 21st, a small bar, called at first, Salty's, and then, Cruz-In 1, owned by Don & Ben. I know it because I met my partner of 37 years there on 9/1/72. The tiny bar might have been only open during the 1972 - 1973 era. I think it's an empty parking lot now.

Starlight Bar and Restaurant (197?-19??)
On Freeport near Fruitridge
Sacramento, CA

The Town House (G, M) (went gay in 198/9?-????)
(listed in the 1967 phone book)
1517 – 21st Street
Sacramento, CA
(see below for today)

Topper (G) (195??-19??)
1225 K Street
(next to the Times Theater, 1214 K Street, Sacramento, CA)
(all the buildings were torn down many years ago. See below for what this block looks like today.)

The Underpass (G, M) (19??-19??)
Owners - Frank, Meta and Joseph
1946 Broadway, Sacramento, CA
Inside the Underpass was a restaruant called "Broadway Limited". The building was right next to the railroad tracks.


maybe late 1980's or early 1990's
(Both the above photos Courtesey of Mike Walker)

Brian, ???, Don Clark and Tom Moore Inside the Underpass - about 1979?

A place on the river owned by Terry Sidie (of Faces) known mainly for their Sun brunches, and had a marina.
Click on Verona for more details.

Why Not (L)
really not sure of the location
womewhere between 18-21st with D, E or F as the cross streets.

Some folks remember another bar called the Windsor(sp?) (G) and think it was on J Street across from Plaza Park

The Wreck Room
First on 20th St just north of J, then on Broadway next to a Chinese (?The Mandarin?) restaurant.
Good fun bars, very popular - together the two lasted for several years in late 80s into 90s??

Chapter 3 – Yolo County

“The Tubs”

Yolo Sauna (G) or referred to as “The Baths”
(from the 1967 phone book)
1537 Sacto Ave
Bryte (now West Sacramento)
This one was almost across the street from the Log Cabin.
Later became a church and the church uses the swimming pool as a baptismal.
(see below for today)

“The Bars”

The Brick House (? we think that the name) well, it was a brick bldg.
Way out on W Capitol in West Sac, past Harbor Blvd.
Don't know who owned it, but porn star Richard Locke was bartender there - he was in "LA Tool and Die", "El Paso Wrecking Co" with Fred Halstead, among other films.
Early 80s we think, again another rather short-lived bar.

Ernie’s (G)
(Ernie Brown – owner)
(very small place but always packed)
(815(?) West Capitol Avenue, West Sacramento, CA)
(see below for today)

Ernie’s Place(?) (G)
(Ernie Brown – owner)
(very big building on West Capitol Avenue with a horse on top of the building, West Sacramento; probably in the 3000 block or maybe the 4000 block)
(only sold beer)

The Hawaiian Hut (G, M) (went gay in 197? And closed in 198/9?)
(in the 1967 phone book)
2400 W Capitol Ave
(later referred to as “the Hut”)
(slightly pre-disco – what a beat!!!)
Later became a girls bar called “Annabelle’s”
On West Capitol Avenue at the corner of Pecan Street in West Sacramento, CA

And today...

Hide & Seek (G) (196?-198?)
Owner Pat Avila only
825 Sunset Ave
Bryte (1967 phone book) (now West Sacramento)
(affectionately called The Hide and Suck)
(who could forget Charles Pierce (1926 - 1999), playing his own portable record player for mime and background music! The great male actress!!!)
( )
(and there are many, many more web sites on Charles Pierce, just Google his name)
Shannon and Pat Montclaire took turns at the mic onstage at the Hide and Seek lip-synching to Whitney, Donna and Diana
Pat Montclaire passed away in the late 1980's, probably in San Francisco where she tended bar at the "Church Street Station"
Some history of this property
(see below for today – a church)

Know Who Who Hut (G)
West Capitol
West Sacramento

The Log Cabin (G)
(did this bar ever have any connection to the Log Cabin Republicans???)
(196?-197?; torn down and road widened in 19??)
(from the 1967 phone book)
1532 Sacto Ave
Bryte (now West Sacramento)
(Corners of Sacramento Avenue and Yolo Street, West Sacramento, CA)
(owner – Hilda)

(entertainer at the Log Cabin – Pat Montclaire-deceased)
See below for George and Pat Montclaire, taken at the Gay Parade in San Francisco in June 1978

Off Key (G), 1040 Soule Street in West Sacramento very near the river
Don’t remember it being open very long
(see below for today)

These two photos were taken in 2007

This photo courtesy of Mike

Purple Tortoise (G)
West Capital
West Sacramento

River Galley
(from the 1980 phone book)
County Road 136
Broderick, CA
(not particularly gay, but gay owned and operated; Pat Avila and Marge)
(this was a barge and in 19?? it sank then was torn down)

Road House (G) (1966?-1976?)
(way out on West Capitol Avenue)
owner Bruce Walton
Bruce lived on Fulton Avenue very near Fair Oaks Blvd.
Drag name – Tracy Sargent
Tracy performed and had other drags doing shows.
Bruce had something to do with “Sugar Babies” starring Mickey Rooney and Anne Miller
Christine Jorgensen also appeared at the Road House in 19??

Stair Case (G and Drag)
Richard Z. an old boy friend use to go there in drag - lots of fun
Bryte, California

Twin Gables (G) (1953?- 19??)
West Capitol Avenue
West Sacramento, CA
May have been next to or part of the Twin Oaks Motel
2017 W Capitol Ave, W Sacto – from the 1954 phone book
(owned by two guys that sold it and opened a restaurant near the American Can Company on C Street in Sacramento)
The Twin Gables was the first gay bar for Mattress Mary

The Zodiac (G)
(on West Capitol Avenue a few miles west of the Hawaiian Hut)
(Faye was the owner. She also had the places on El Camino in Sacramento, and the Fury Lounge in Carmichael)
(lots of good drag numbers)
(see below for today)

Books about the past, present and future.

With your contributions, I will be adding more stories, but here are some beginnings, but first, do you know whatever happened to these folks and where are they today???

From Norv Giles, long time Sacramento resident now living in San Diego, California

From Mike Walker, long time Sacramento area resident.

From George Raya, long time Sacramento area resident.

From Bob T. long time Sacramento area resident now living near Santa Cruz.

From Anonymous in Sacramento

OK, I know he's still alive and probably living in Davis with a long time friend, but tell me what you know about Ernie Brown.

And where is Digit?

What about Paul aka "Shannon"?

Here’s a good link for some gay history:
The The Gay Chronicles by Len Evans (1943 - 2003)

There are those that can no longer speak for themselves:
Pat Montclaire


"Aunt Rose" (Roy)

and into an even brighter future with organizations like; Equality California, Human Rights Campaign, Courage Campaign, OUT Sacramento, The Equal Rights Amendment,, Lavender Library, Archives & Cultural Exchange (LLACE), Andrew Sullivan and The Daily Dish, and last, but never least, President Barak Obama....

Let these organizations and people hear from you!!!

And now, let's move into the next 50 gay years.....

If you would like to share any information about this period of time
or would like to be added to my "Fifty Gay Years" e-mail distribution list,
please let Melba know.

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