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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


!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

I lived in Boston in the 1970’s and remember going to a large disco near Fenway Park. I think the name was “The Rainbow” but I can find no info on it. I remember it had a large neon rainbow inside and bleacher style seating around the dance floor. Does anyone else remember this place? It might have been in the same location as 15 Lansdowne but I’m not sure. I have thought about that place over all these years and would really like to know if that was the correct name. It was a really amazing club and we had many good times there. I also remember going for breakfast at a deli called Ken’s , after a night out at Chaps. Kens had deliscious cheese blintzes! Many fond memories!

Posted by: Rocco at Feb 17, 2019 9:14:47 PM

I used to work at Darts. I enjoyed the Jolar, Sporters, Buddies, Eagle, Loft. I came to Boston after working in Ptown in 1977. I miss the guys, bartenders doormen, coatroom guys. Anyone wanting to contact me pls do!

Posted by: Mark Hefferan at Feb 9, 2019 4:03:43 PM

For the bar near Boston Garden, are you thinking of 119 Merrimac? It was around the corner.

Posted by: Ron at Nov 27, 2018 12:37:41 PM

I remember Paul, the older bartender at Sporters.

Posted by: Steve Jansen at Nov 27, 2018 8:11:47 AM

Anyone remember a little gay bar near Boston garden? It was a small little place with a dance floor. It would have been 1984. I used to take a subway there. It was elevated platform. That's all I can remember. Anyone?

Posted by: Steve Jansen at Nov 27, 2018 8:08:45 AM

Walter Mosley i previously mentioned worked at Chaps in Copley Square area as a doorman,bouncer,ect during the 80's.Also some other gay clubs in Boston but not sure which one after all these years now.

Posted by: Arthur Howard at Nov 27, 2018 12:17:45 AM

I remember and knew Walter Mosley very much and he was such a sexy hunky black guy in his day.Sadly he passed away several years ago from the aids virus.The stories i could tell but won't!

Posted by: Arthur Howard at Nov 25, 2018 1:34:53 AM

Together on Boylston Street across from the Boston Common.You had to go don 2 flights of stairs.Sylvia Sidney held court there.I went there with my brother and his BF when I was 15 in 1975 and then again in 1979 when I as in College

Posted by: Peter at Nov 17, 2018 10:35:43 AM

It looks like Paradise close just this past September.

Posted by: Ron at Nov 9, 2018 7:39:52 PM

I used to go to the Paradise occasionally in Cambridge. Haven't lived in Boston for 23 years. Is it still there?

Posted by: Joseph at Nov 9, 2018 3:23:58 PM

The Diner was a Hayes Bickford's across from the Public Garden and the country club was the Randolph Country Club. Also, there was a really nice bar on Dartmouth Street near the library called Dart's. Opened and closed around 1983.

Posted by: Joseph at Nov 9, 2018 3:18:12 PM

Anyone remember driving north out of town, not like Ogunquit, come back late same night to a strange bar in an old house that was maybe only open in summer? It was like a little expedition to a suburban country club but I didn’t have a car, so wouldn’t remember how a driver got there. BTW, love comments. I was late 80s: Club Cafe, Mario’s, Napoleons, and t-dance at Chaps Sundays followed by Metro / Axis at Fenway (plus a walk through the Fens on way home). Used to miss last T all the time and if I hadn’t gotten lucky, thought nothing of walking back to my place near Harvard Square. Also let you divert by the Esplanade, if one was so inclined! Also really liked Paradise in Cambridge when I stayed on that side of the River. So sad Glad Day is no more. Hung there a lot, made good friends with staff and patrons. Thanks for the memories.

Posted by: Gary E at Jul 6, 2018 3:40:05 PM

Any info on the very “exclusive” clique called Los Papagayos, early 80’s , I was a member but have lost all track of it and any other members!

Posted by: Ron at Jul 5, 2018 7:39:31 AM

Does anyone remember Paul Graham? Lived in Boston and Cambridge.

I knew him slightly from the early 70's. Looked like Rock Hudson and would bicycle on the Esplanade by the Charles. I think he came from a prominent family and went to a military school, I think. Often went to Sporters. Sadly he was alcoholic.

Posted by: MATTHEW BARTOSIAK at May 7, 2018 1:44:28 AM

Glad Day was on Bromfield Street. At the same address was Gay Community News and Fag Rag.

I worked in North Station area in the '80s and I don't recall the bar you're describing on Friend Street. Not saying it wasn't there, I just never heard about it.

Could it have been Bobby's at 69 Canal Street? Here's the street view. I never went there, so I don't know if it was street level or on an upper floor.

Posted by: Ron at Apr 23, 2018 7:58:27 PM

I believe the men’s club I refer to above was on Friends Street across from North Station.

Posted by: Joey at Apr 23, 2018 7:26:13 PM

There was a club of sorts on the second (and third floor) close to North Station). When I was coming out I went to visit it as it was advertised in the Boston Gay papers. I lost my nerve but I did open the street level door and there was a man up at the top of the stairs. I think it was Portland or Canal Street. Does anyone else remember this establishment ? I don’t know if it was a bathhouse or sex club or just a social situation . It had been around a while and my near visit was the winner of 1986. Also, Glad Day Book Store was on a side street off Downtown Crossing up on the second floor.

Posted by: Joey at Apr 23, 2018 7:19:18 PM

There was a club of sorts on the second (and third floor) close to North Station). When I was coming out I went to visit it as it was advertised in the Boston Gay papers. I lost my nerve but I did open the street level door and there was a man up at the top of the stairs. I think it was Portland or Canal Street. Does anyone else remember this establishment ? I don’t know if it was a bathhouse or sex club or just a social situation . It had been around a while and my near visit was the winner of 1986. Also, Glad Day Book Store was on a side street off Downtown Crossing up on the second floor.

Posted by: Joey at Apr 23, 2018 7:19:18 PM

My email address, for the last 20 years, has been dedicated to the Jolar Cinema, which I never got to visit but I always liked the idea of! Anyway, I was an early-to-mid '90's straight kid, so I missed out on a LOT of places, but thankfully not Jaques or The Loft, which was a wonderful deep house / garagey-place and I even got my bike mugged from me one night on the way back home but, looking back, it was all worth it!

Posted by: Alistair at Apr 1, 2018 3:06:36 AM

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