The Gas Station was located at 19106 Woodward Ave and 7 Mile Rd in Detroit. It was opened in the mid 70's by Peter Mel who later opened The Backstage Deli, Footlights and Salute. The Gas Station was kind of a dumpy bar which had a bit of a seedy clientele. Unfortunately for me it was my first gay bar. The year was 1985 and I had just bought my first car which finally gave me the freedom to go where I wanted. Growing up in Royal Oak we never went south of 8 Mile Rd. That was "scary" to even think of going into the city of Detroit. We only really went south of 8 Mile once a year on our way to Cedar Point on the freeway. When we were on the freeway I can remember seeing houses with "Jail bars" on the windows, we could not believe that anyone would have to have bars on their windows. This just gives you the context of how scared I was to venture south of 8 Mile. I had heard that the "Fags" where all down around 6-7 Mile and Woodward. So, off I went, driving up and down Woodward Ave looking for anything "Gay". Mind you, this was before the internet and I was a suburban Royal Oak kid who went to a Catholic high school and I did no know a single gay person. I was both terrified and excited at the same time. I saw the Gas Station bar and pulled around back to the parking lot. This was a scary neighborhood back then and still is. I remember seeing white people going into the bar and because this was a black neighborhood I thought this must be a gay bar! But, I was confused; I saw girls going in as well? I did not know about "fag hags" yet. I was terrified of going inside. I came every Friday or Saturday night for about a month and just sat in the parking lot trying to get the courage to go inside. You must remember I was a naive, scared 18 year old kid who had hardly ever been inside of any bar, let alone one south of 8 Mile in such a bad neighborhood. I finally got the guts to up go inside. When I did there was a guy at the door checking ID's, he let me in! The place was decorated in this cheesy gas station style with gas station signs, etc. I bought a Coke at the bar and immediately bolted for the corner up by the dance floor. I think I was shaking I was so scared; but excited and curious at the same time. I had never met anyone who was a homosexual! I surveyed the crowd and was happy to see some guys who were young like myself. But, there was also allot of "old men" as well. Then, this old guy started talking to me. At this time I was very shy, I really wanted him to leave me alone so I could have a chance to talk to one of the younger guys but I was too shy and polite to get rid of him. I ended up having to talk to him the whole night. I came back every Friday or Saturday night and the same thing always happened. What I did not know at the time was The Gas Station was really a "hustler bar" where young hustlers would go to get picked up by old men. Finally after going there for a few months I talked to one of the younger guys, who must have been a hustler; and having seen me there every weekend and realizing that I was not a hustler he suggested that I check out Menjo's. I did not know about Menjo's because it was not on Woodward and was way down six Mile Rd. So, Menjo's was my second gay bar, thank god! It was so much better than the Gas Station. (See my other post about Menjo's) I did return to The Gas Station on Tuesday nights because they had the "Wet jockey shorts" contest with lady T Tempest. This night drew in a large younger crowd that were not hustlers and it was fun. This was the only night that I would go to the Gas Station again. Friday and Saturday nights it was young hustlers and the old men who came to pick them up. Another strange phenomenon about The Gas Station was that it was located on the corner of a side street and Woodward Ave. The parking lot was behind the bar. Down this side street past the parking lot was something I have never seen before or since anywhere in Detroit. There were male prostitutes standing on the this side street waiting to guys to drive by and pick them up. I have never seen any place else since where there were male whores working on the street in Detroit. I'm not sure what year the Gas Station closed, it was torn down and there is a McDonald's there now. I could not find any pictures of the front of the bar facing Woodward? Please send me any pictures if you have them, interior or exterior. Also, on another note; there was an after hours club located above The Gas Station called "Heaven" (See my post about Heaven). If you have you own stories about The Gas Station, please post them. Also check out my other blog: motorgay.net
Also, I found this matchbook for the"7-Wood Bar" at the same address as The Gas Station. So, this is what was there before The Gas Station.