Thursday, April 21, 2011
The Silver Slipper
Closed: Late 1970s?
In an 2009 interview with OutHistory, Mary Scott shared the following memories of the Silver Slipper, which was located in Seattle's Pioneer Square:
The Silver Slipper at that time was on -- 210 South Jackson. So we went down there a lot -- for about a year or so. And there were still quite a few of the bar regulars, but it seems to me that the older women just kind of disappeared. I found out later that a lot of them just simply were overwhelmed. They just couldn’t understand or cope with all of this big influx of feminist, out, wild lesbians. A lot of them didn’t look or act like lesbians, and they weren’t into butch and femme. Or everybody looked butch. You couldn’t tell the butches from the femmes! ...
But a lot of the younger non-feminist bar regulars, who were roughly our age -- in their twenties and early thirties -- stayed, and [there was some] social pushing and shoving, so to speak, a period of adjustment on both sides. ...
The Slipper was a women’s bar. It was a lesbian bar. Occasionally a man would come in, but he would be a gay man. He was kind of an oddity, you know? He was there because maybe he knew one of the bartenders, or maybe he was a friend or a brother of a customer there that night, or whatever. He had a legitimate tie, and nobody really minded that. But every once in a while mixed couple would come in. And you could pretty well tell, after a while, whether the men had a legitimate reason for being there, or whether he was with a woman friend or wife -- and they were there looking for a lesbian to go home with them for perverse three-way kinds of [sex ?].
The other bar I was able to trace down, Pioneer Square's Silver Slipper, was like a speakeasy. The stairs leading up to the bar were hard to climb - easily descended, though.
Everyone I noticed glared at me. I had dressed up, naturally: I'd been taught to do that when you Went Out, and if I smiled at anyone, she scowled. I wasn't sure what it was that I had done ... maybe I seemed too eager. After being unable to get anyone to talk, I had a few mostly miserable beers and was heading out for a cab when someone generously helped me fly down the opening stairs. Which is my principal memory of the Silver Slipper.
Photo: 210 Jackson Street today. Location is currently occupied by Empyrean Seattle, which offers "continuing education in massage therapy."