Friday, September 4, 2009

The Famous Door - Detroit, Michigan (Gay Bar)

The Famous Door (Now closed) was located at 1256 Griswold in Detroit. I think this was primarily a black club. If you have any stories about this bar, please post.

26 comments:

  1. The Famous Door was a black club....Wow!!! Old memories....I remember going as a teen in the early 80's. The crowd was a mix of banjee boyz, butch/fem queens and drag queens. I only went a few times, but from what I recall the club was narrow, had a small dance floor in the back and it also had a balcony level too. But, the thing I remember most is at 1:45AM nightly (the club closed at 2AM), the bouncer who was an older grey hair dude (I think his name was Grady) would yell out, "Suck It Up!!! Bars Closed!!" And, the crowd (kids) would go i...yellin', screamin' and laughin', but mos def downing the last of their coctails...LMAO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. what happen to the bartender" Dancing Bobby " ?

      Delete
    2. Bobby is still dancing and well....

      Delete
    3. Glad to hear Bobby is doing well and still dancing. Thank you so much.

      Delete
    4. WOW...The famous door. Memories indeed. Me and my buddy Virgil use to hang out across the street in those bus sheds at night watching from across the street dancing to the music that came from those speakers. That song So Fine Howard Johnson and Keep On by Dtrain. I was homeless 15/16yrs old stealing cookies out of that store down the street from the F Door...many memories. The old guy was Otis at the door with the grey hair. What happen to him?

      Delete
    5. I mean Louis

      Delete
  2. I met a diana ross look alike there in the early eighties that actually went by that name. The real Diana Ross was famous for selling 12 inch vinyl, The look alike was famous for having 12 inches to sell while wearing vinyl

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my goodness the Famous Door was Detroit's = to NYC's Better Days. While L'uomo's on E. 7 Mile Rd and John R. was Detroit's = to NYC's Paradise Garage. OMG those were some fun times then.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The "Door" as the regulars called it, was my training bar. It was absolutely the best thing in Detroit, complete with sissies, queens, and trade.

    We would always see who would "close the Door" at the end of the night, meaning who would be the last one to leave.

    And, definitely, it was a Black bar to the researcher who seems to have little knowledge of these kinds of things.

    Oh my, the memories.

    ReplyDelete
  5. dam the famous door...im not gay but me and my friend virgil used to hang out across the street and listen to the music at night from the bus shed...there was a door man there name Louis with a grey afro...he finally let me and my friend come in tho we were to young...we had fun down there alot of nights alot of memorable times...never forget hearing the song...so fine and keep on

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes, Yes, Yes!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. The FD was a great place for people to get gether and have fun. Will there ever be another place like that for enjoyment? DR

    ReplyDelete
  8. The Original Famous Door was not always a Black bar in the sixties, but later in the early seventies it became a mixed crowd then became a black bar by the late seventies, it was a good place to stop and the bar was centered in the middle so you could walk all around everyone that was seated there were two bartenders one on each side and they were great but i cannot remember there names,later in the mid seventies Bob Waters and his partner Ken worked the door on the weekends and were quick to throw out any unruly patrons which they did on various occasions.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow!!! The first Gay Bar I ever went into in 1978. For sure, a Black Club. The music was always bumping. I was with my best friend. We stayed all of 5 minutes. We saw a childhood friend and was terrified. Until later,, when we asked ourselves.... Hmmm "Why was he there?" We went back a week later and the ritual began... There was a bartender whose name was "Bobby". He was fun and lively. One of the best dancers in town. I remember him working behind the bar and singing along the the song Hot Shot. He was fabulous. Detroit was very segregated during those times. The so called White Clubs would only allow a certain number of Black or Minority patrons in their clubs. The Black Club scene was a safe haven. The music was better anyways. This club and its patrons taught me a lot about the Gay Scene. I have memories that will last a lifetime. Met a few pieces that I won't forget from there also.... lol. I was in High School in 1978. My crew and I would flirt with the doorman just to get in and not be harrassed for ID. Worked everytime... hehehe Oh Yes!!! We were young and on FIREEEEE... Moved from Detroit in 1984. Have since live in California, New York and Florida. The Gay Scene was guided by the music during late seventies and early eighties. Those of you to young to know of this era... Well you missed a good time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes Bobby still got to...he's on Fbook

      Delete
  10. THE FAMOUS DOOR USED TO BE BUMPING ON THUSDAY AND FRIDAY NITES! I WENT THERE FOR THE FIRST TIME AT 16 AND IT FELT LIKE HEAVEN ON EARTH!! THE MUSIC WAS SLAMMING THE DJ'S NAME WAS MELVIN HILL AND THE DOORMAN/BOUNCER WAS LOUIS! IN HIGH SCHOOL ALL THE GAY KIDZ WOULD CALL THE FAMOUS DOOR THE KNOCK KNOCK BECAUSE WE DIDNT WANT THE STRAIGHT KIDZ ALL UP IN OUR BUSINESS KNOWING WHERE WE PARTIED ON THURSDAY NITES!

    ReplyDelete
  11. THE FAMOUS DOOR WAS THE BEST GAY BAR IN THE CITY..I GOT A EDUCATION UP IN THERE FOR REAL!! THE YOUNGSTERS OF TODAY REALLY MISSED OUT THOSE WERE THE DAYS...DAMN!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Can't you see i'm fallin in love with you was a song that entranced people. Can you handle it was the drag queen strut song and I remember being told never to look a drag queen in the face or you might get slashed. lol

    ReplyDelete
  13. I remember Bobby the bartender, i was 15.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I was 15 when i tried to get in at the fanous door but they would not let me in and i lived in saginaw mich 100 miles away all i could do was listen to the music from the bus stop but i went back two weeks later the dj melvin was unloading his music going in the club he told the guy at the door to let me in i had the time of my life i had never been in a gay club the famous door was the best music ,thugs,and everything you could want was there i had a ball!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I grew up in the Cleveland, Ohio suburb of Canton, Ohio and was in the closet until I graduated from High School and attended the University of Toledo...during the early to mid eighties. While attending The University of Toledo, I became active in the modeling scene...which led to me venturing into Detroit and Chicago for modeling assignments. This led to me meeting a group of individuals that introduced me to both The Famous Door and another hot night club called Tod's. The Famous Door/s music was GREAT! I was a little afraid at first...but the grey haired doorman assured me that I would be OK...he used to flirt with me each time I was there...which was OK because he made me feel safe. Anyway, I had the time of my life each time I went out there. However, Tod's was also great...it was much bigger and the crowd tended to dress more on the upscale than at the Famous Door. Boy...Detroit had a very, very, very active and pleasant gay environment at that time. I have since moved to Atlanta, but now reside in Columbus, Ohio. But I miss those times at the Famous Door and Tod's. However, Columbus, Ohio has a great gay night life, therefore, I'm still having a great time! Atlanta has a great gay bar called TRAX...and they have opened a second location here in Columbus, Ohio. Anyone that has visited TRAX in Atlanta should check out TRAX in Columbus...you wont regret it!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Back around 1985, while I was a student at The University of Michigan, on Fridays we would make the trip from Ann Arbor to Detroit for a night at The Door. Oh how we loved it. I remember the huge bar and what we called Trade Row... That never ending line of black men on the wall, looking good. The dancing, the kicks, the boys, the drinks and the smokes. Those were the days.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I first went to the famous door at age 16..I remember being so nervous cause I was still in the closet. When Louis with the big grey afro let me in and I heard the music, I felt so free , seeing men dance with men, let me out of my cage.i saw what you would call "the circle, where queens would "kick and split:I mean those girls was cut throat, I later learned that having STRETCH made you more popular so my gay sisters and I watched, practiced, and we competed to be the best..I never had so much fun..I mean every weekend I was there.i remember Melvin the DJ , I had the biggest crush on him..Bobby the bartender made me many drinks, I will never forget the Famous door. ..G class of 83..DETROIT

    ReplyDelete
  18. The Door what can I say I had my life in there the boys were hot the music was fire. I remember bringing my friend from NYC to this club after he raved about the clubs in NYC. Baby, when I tell you when he stepped into the Door that was it he found some boy he fell in love with and moved to Detroit. I'm so glad I was grew up in this era.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hell guy's this is Dj Disc...Detroit i was a resident Dj for Bill for the last day's of the Famous Door after that it became the GRIND a Gentlemens club at the new location the Famous Door move down a block or so to Griswold and Grandriver across that was them Save the Vinyl now Urban Beans Co. I am putting together a monthly event the last Friday of the month, the first date will be Friday Feb 26,2016 downtown Detroit at PARIS NITECLUB 1344 Broadway St
    Detroit, Michigan - Paris is downtown Detroit's newest niteclub catering to the LGBTQ community. Anyone that know where the heck Bill is please have him to reach me on FB - https://www.facebook.com/djdiscdetroit, updates on and the name of the event at Paris Niteclub will be posted here and on Facebook

    ReplyDelete
  20. I was only there once but it was amazing. The night started pretty quiet but the club quickly filled up. The music moved you at the Famous Door so there were not a lot of "stand and pose boys" there like the white clubs. I wonder if the kids have any idea what they missed in the 80's in Detroit. The scene was fantastic despite the dicey drive between the clubs...

    ReplyDelete