Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Palais Bar - Detroit (Gay bar)















The Palais bar (Now closed) was located at 655 Beaubien in Detroit. It is currently the Detroiter sports bar. I have heard some stories of this being a lesbian bar but I'm not sure it was exclusively. Help! If you have stories of this bar or photos please post.

8 comments:

  1. THIS WAS A GIRLS BAR IN THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES.
    LOTS OF FIGHTS HERE.
    A GIRL THEY CALLED BIG JOYCE HUNG OUT THERE,KILLED HER SELF.THEY SAID.BUT KNOW ONE BELIEVED IT.

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  2. Back in the 1971 - 72 this was a big ol' butch dyke bar & men were not welcomed. They did once let me & some hippie friends come in to sell the Gay Liberator news paper but I remember we did, at some point, begin to get on their nerves so we were asked to leave.

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  3. This was definitely a lesbian bar; lots of fights; DPD called on occasion (they were right down the street); main daytime bartender was Big Geri; many, many regulars; a wonderful selection on the jukebox; a great hang-out bar. It was rumored to be the oldest continuously gay bar in the country, but can't verify that.

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  4. I'm a gay man, and I used to hang out here in the late 70's, early 80's. Vicki was the bartender. A butch/femme scene for sure. Some of the old crowd would come in and that kept the Pit somewhat gay. The owners were certainly trying to change the place into a straight bar. I never had any problems because I minded my own business. I miss having such a hang out. I wonder where everyone is now?

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  5. I remember going in through the side door by the pool table one summer night and was greeted by this mammoth diesel dyke she said you cant come in here and i said watch me and i strolled right past her ,but i was chased out and not by the girls It was the roaches that drove me out, Uhg i still get chills thinking about it!

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  6. The person that chased you out was probably Gerri, the main bartender. I agree- It was pretty seedy. My dad owned this bar. I was a little girl and I used to go with him and wait in the car with my mom when he'd pick up his money at the end of the night on Saturdays. It was a fun adventure for me- but the bar was pretty gross.

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  8. For a couple years as a young man in the mid-sixties I used to go and drink beer in the Palais. I'm not gay, but I needed a place where I was accepted and the Palais fit. It was not an exclusively lesbian bar at that time. Gerri the bartender was a large square-built, strong, short-haired woman. She could be gruff but was kind to me. She only asked that people behave well. On one slow afternoon she told me a story of having been a bag carrier for the numbers game as a young girl. She was protective of young naive people, both male and female. In 1965 Satisfaction by the Stones was a popular jukebox song. The young gay guys would dance, thrusting their hips, and change the words to "I can't get no body action." Morrie, the bar boy, was friendly with me. I only realized later that he had a bit of crush on me. He also did drag at the Barbary Coast, another of the four Detroit gay bars I knew of. I can't remember the name of the bar that was reputedly rougher than the Palais, but the bar where 'upper class' and professional types met was "The Diplomat." It was in a nice building east of Woodward a bit north of downtown. It was discreet -- no outside sign and a plain door, almost all male, and reputedly did not get raided like the other gay bars. I was in the Palais once when a DPD vice squad, dressed in formal clothes came in, commandeered a table, had a round of drinks, then blocked the doors and started a fight. One note about the old Palais: the men's restroom at one time had a sort of hidden door in the wooden wall which could be unlocked by a button behind the bar. I believe it led to a hiding space. Dan, now in Tucson.

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