« Richard Cohen on GWB | Main | Bin Laden in China »

October 17, 2004

Former Gay Boston

www.BostonGayBars.com has this list of former gay bars and hot spots, written by someone much younger than I:

Do you remember.... ?
Not sure what the name was, but I was told there used to be a bar or diner where gay men frequented back in the 70s and 80s. It was located across the Boston Common on Boylston Street, where now the Four Seasons is located. Anyone remember this place?

119 Merrimac
This dive bar is no longer there... for the building is currently being regutted and converted into offices or condos. The owners of 119 moved its business toward Downtown Crossing at Pi Alley.

"The 1270 (it was also known as Quest in the mid- to late-90s) was a great 3 story club with a roof deck at 1270 Boylston,at the other end of the same building where Ramrod is.There is some type of latin flavor breeder's club there now." - submitted by Ujpro@yahoo.com

Located near the Fleet Center (Boston Garden) on Friend Street, near Haymarket and North End. The dance floor was small, and during the weekend mornings it was a place to have brunch (with omelettes made to order). Now it's some Tapas bar filled with... ugh... breeders.

I only remember Buddies when it was located on Stuart Street in the Theatre District. I remember sneaking in (I was underaged) with friends and had a blast. It was before my time when Buddies was located in the Back Bay... on Boylston Street. Shortly after Buddies closed, the bar was then transformed into F/X... which was very short-lived. The Stuart Street location is now Boston's best killer dance club: BUZZ.

What stands in its place is Trinity Place... more luxury condos. It was the best dance club before BUZZ, located in Copley Square, across from the Copley Westin Hotel. The alley behind Chaps was the playground during Boston Pride, and the place was packed year after year. Chaps then moved to the Theatre District, and then it changed its name to VAPOR. Now, according to many friends, Vapor has slowly emerged into a bi/straight club. It was really never the same when Chaps moved from its Copley location.

A short-lived dance club on Lincoln Street in the Leather District near South Station. With the 24-hour diners and Chinatown nearby, one would have thought that gay nightlife would thrive... nope.

Located near Haymarket in downtown Boston. Don't remember much about this place... I think it thrived back in the early to mid-1980s.

DykeNights at Midway Cafe
There was a place for women in Jamaica Plain. On April 26, 2004, DykeNights held its last night. Click here for more information about the closing...

GladDay Bookstore
Okay, it's not a bar or club, but it was perhaps the most popular, longest-surviving gay bookstore in Boston. It was located across from the Boston Public Library, on Boylston Street. I believe the management moved to a new location in the Leather District, on 92A South Street, and renamed the bookstore, Calamus Bookstore. Above the bookstore is the new location of Marquis de Sade, that used to be on Berkeley Street in the South End.

"Haymarket, a short lived, weak attempt at rivaling Avalon in the Combat Zone" - submitted by Ujpro@yahoo.com

Another short-lived bar on Washington Street in Downtown Crossing that featured gay night (Wednesdays). Now it's totally straight... and the name has been changed to FELT.

Lava Bar
Above the Howard Johnson's hotel in Kenmore Square stood the Lava Bar. It was a bar for women, and it opened Thursdays through Sundays. It closed some time around 2000.

The Loft
This after-hours club was located in the Back Bay (behind Club Cafe). It was Saturdays and Sundays, from 12:30 a.m. to dawn. Saturday mornings had a mixed crowd, and Sunday mornings were all-gay. The Loft had three bass-thumping dance floors and a roofdeck. Summer nights were awesome. The Loft has been closed for almost ten years now, but now RISE has returned (after a fire that closed the club for over a year) as the after-hours hot spot for gay club-goers.

It's now "Upstairs at Dedo." Located in Bay Village, across from the Boston Park Plaza.

Napoleon Bar
Once touted as Boston's oldest gentlemen bar, Napoleon Bar was situated in Bay Village on Pinckney Street. Napoleon's consisted of two piano bars, and a dance floor upstairs, called Josephine's. It was closed a number of years ago and it has since turned into condominiums.

Essex Street, near Chinatown. This place was SCARY!!! The building is being torn down and more luxury condos are going to be in its place.

Safari Club
Boston once had a sex club. The city closed it down, after someone reported illegal activities to the authorities. It was located on Wareham Street in the South End. If you want to go to a sex club now, you'll have to drive down to Providence, Rhode Island.

"Skippers was a cute little hustler bar located where the Four Seasons now stands." - submitted by Ujpro@yahoo.com

This was a leather/levi neighborhood bar on Cambridge Street. Correct me if I'm wrong, but was there a sling that used to hang inside that place?

Venus DeMilo
Located on Lansdowne Street near Fenway Park. Wednesday nights. No more.

Filed under Gay Issues | permalink | October 17, 2004 at 07:35 PM


Club DV8 at Spit/Metro was the first, best and most innovative place for real techno music trance and a place you could really lose yourself in the music lights and beats without the nonsense of the large trendy clubs it was connected to in the same complex.

Posted by: Chaz at Jul 18, 2021 8:18:07 PM

I worked at Skippers 1week before opening for about 5 weeks in 1980 I believe. Loved Buddies on Boylston, Chaps, Luxor video bar in early 80’s. I also bartended at Club Cafe from 85-89. The 80s gay bar scene in Boston wasGR8. Does anyone remember Spit?

Posted by: Peter at Jul 8, 2021 5:09:12 PM

Memories of all the different gay bars in Boston to what 2 or 3 left today?You could go out for a night of bar hopping and go to a dozen different clubs and clientele . Then end up at Kens or Buzzies Roast beef for knishes or Howard Johnson’s on rt. 3 for pancakes or if I was able to ditch my friends end up in the Fens! All great places filled with the after hours gay crowd!

Posted by: Jeff at Jul 5, 2021 11:09:47 AM

I see no mention of Styx which was located next door to the original Chaps behind the public library. When Styx closed, Chaps incorporated the space.

Posted by: Charles at Jun 13, 2021 12:10:43 PM

The bar across the commons on Boylston St. where the Four Seasons is now was called Skipper's

Posted by: Charked at Jun 13, 2021 12:06:12 PM

In response to G_Boston, yes I remember Steve Clark, I worked with him at the Ramrod from 1990-1995 he died of AIDS somewhere around 1996? I'm not sure...He was a sweetheart

Posted by: Andrew B Anderson at Apr 30, 2021 4:20:41 PM

I remember pipeline. They had mommy dearest night. Coat hangers everywhere

Posted by: Jodie at Apr 19, 2021 5:48:02 AM

I worked at “The Bar” back in the 70’s.great place. It was me, Tish,, Dolly, Gary Dotterman, Eddie.. wow, so many memories....if only we could go back......

Posted by: Derek at Mar 20, 2021 12:54:16 PM

Does anyone remember or know a bartender from the RamRod in the 1990's; Steve Clark?

Posted by: G_Boston at Feb 16, 2021 1:10:16 PM

Boston Globe Feb. 8, 1989 https://www.newspapers.com/clip/48903330/boston-globe-08-feb-1989/

Gay bathhouse fire under investigation

Fire officials yesterday had not determined what caused a two-alarm fire at a gay bath house in the financial district Monday night. "They're working on it," Boston Fire department spokesman William Murphy said yesterday. Murphy said the fire at Club 297 on Franklin Street caused $300,000 in damage to the five-story building that also houses Somewhere Else, a lesbian bar and restaurant. The building next door at 381 Franklin Street sustained $2,500 in damage from the fire, he said. Club 297 was closed last month by the city for violating health and fire codes.

A U.S. Appeals Court decision relating to this fire can be found at https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-1st-circuit/1264954.html

Posted by: Ron at Jan 2, 2021 4:37:33 PM

I worked on Broad Street out of college around 1990. There was a place that burned mysteriously located at 297 Franklin Street (maybe owned by the mob). I heard that was where a bathhouse once was.

Posted by: ps at Jan 2, 2021 3:51:24 PM

Anyone remember Pipeline? Saw Grace Jones there it was wild

Posted by: Cookie at Sep 3, 2020 10:03:25 AM

The Concrete Palace on West Springfield, behind the funeral home on Mass Ave where City Hospital used to be. Owned by either Bobby C or Steve H (RIP) from Chaps. The party would get started at midnight and go until dawn, those were the days of house parties. Remember Mark Tarbox's house parties on Columbus Ave? This is when Miss Dolly Depeyster ruled the roost.

Posted by: Miss Kitty at Aug 14, 2020 7:53:52 AM

Oh, Boston back in the 80's....used to work at Chaps on the weekends, what a crew...all the bars were a blast..raised a lot of hell back then.

Posted by: Bruce Markham at Aug 7, 2020 2:16:52 PM

I’d forgotten about this thread...mostly I remember Chaps, so many fun memories, met my husband of 40 years there! Sunday T...OMG, those were the days, and nights.

Posted by: Ron Cisneros at Jul 3, 2020 1:41:14 PM

The bathhouse in the financial district was at 297 Milk Street. There was a BYOB after-hours club on the weekends that occupied part of the space and shared a common hallway. Therefore, there were two names at the same time...
Club 297
Skyline 300
I forget which name went to which club.

Posted by: Glenn at May 27, 2020 1:12:23 PM

I remember Darts very well with the What Becomes A Legend Most posters on the walls I also remember the Rainbow Room near Fenway Park and actually have a book of matches from them!

Posted by: David Gilbert at Apr 12, 2020 7:26:37 PM

Some of us remember the Punch Bowl. I think it was where the 4 Seasons hotel now stands. In that general area anyway. It was on the ground floor and had a downstairs maybe.

Posted by: Jerry at Mar 18, 2020 1:34:57 AM

Anyone remembers "Darts? It was located on Berkeley Street where Paparazzi restaurant was located (also closed now) Darts was a nice bar with leather seats and a nice dance floor, the year was 1979 and a friend took me to a gar bar for the first time, the disco era was in all it's glory.

Posted by: peter hunt at Jan 1, 2020 11:00:52 PM

!270 had benches around the 2nd floor dancefloor. There was a Bath house in the financial district (Franklin?) Haymarket was one block north of the zone.

Posted by: Will W at Oct 31, 2019 1:04:38 PM

"The Bar" was owned/managed by a Gary Dotterman, right? They were gay revolutionaries!

Posted by: David K Whittier at Oct 20, 2019 7:08:47 AM

Does anyone remember The House restaurant in Allston? There were wild (and true) stories about the owner and his son. Does anyone know what happened to any of the waiters who worked there?

Posted by: Jarmanesque at Sep 10, 2019 6:03:29 AM

"What was the name of that leather bar on Huntington Ave (a block in from the Y)?"

The Shed

Posted by: Demetri Bryant at Jul 24, 2019 6:28:06 PM

As a former member, last report I got on Los Papagayos qas in 1996 where they mentioned panels on the AIDS Quilt where 37 member names were mentioned.

Posted by: Jeff at Jun 25, 2019 7:06:19 PM

From the late 1970’s does anyone remember a place on Boylston called “The Bar“ ? It was located a few blocks from Herbie’s Ramrod Room?

HELP: i’m looking for the name of a bar. It was situated somewhere between the corner of Boyleston & Tremont and the Playland. If my directions are correct it was on the north side of the street. It was a single-story building on a small lot and stood all by itself. It had no adjoining buildings. WAS THIS the Carnival or Circus? I was there many times but have forgotten the name. At that time during the day it was very bright inside and clean.

On one side of the corner lot mentioned above, was what I would call an alley way. About a block up the alley were a set of stairs going up the side of a building (fire escape?) to the second or third floor. This was a gay and mostly Latino club. I only went there once and must admit I was so loaded I don’t remember a thing about it. LOL

Posted by: T Mixx at Apr 11, 2019 2:27:04 PM

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In