Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Eden Lounge

Eden Lounge
Eden Lounge

Location: 2911 Main Street, Dallas, Texas, USA

Opened: January 2013

Closed: April 2014

Like all new business owners, the mothers of Eden Lounge had great hopes for their new venture. Here's the "birth announcement" from dallasvoice:

Deep Ellum lesbian bar a ‘land of Eden’
Posted on 15 Feb 2013 at 8:45am
 AMY PRICE  |  Contributing Writer

Making a mad dash from the front door to the bar and back again, Lauren Nguyen frantically converses with guests and staff as the grand opening of Eden Lounge commences.

Within 20 minutes, the venue turns from solitary vacancy to bustling, standing-room-only Deep Ellum hot spot.

Eden Lounge owners Lauren Nguyen and
Kristi Holman
Not in several years has Deep Ellum had an LGBT bar. The new lesbian bar, Eden Lounge, celebrated its grand opening Saturday, Jan. 26. Alongside Sue Ellen’s, Eden Lounge is only the second lesbian bar in Dallas.

Owner Lauren Nguyen, 43, a home mortgage lender, has transformed the shell of a building into a heavenly oasis.

A far cry from the location’s former occupant, Cantina Dallas, Eden Lounge has been revamped from head to toe. The only thing left over is a custom-welded, cowboy-and-cowgirl-silhouetted railing leading up to the rooftop, which happens to boast one of the coolest views in Deep Ellum.

Eden Lounge interior (February 2013)

Eden Lounge houses two bars, one downstairs and a rooftop bar, but it’s not exactly the dance-club atmosphere of Sue Ellen’s.

Catering mostly to women in their 30s and 40s, Eden Lounge is billed a place to relax and have a friendly conversation.

“I wanted it to be like you’re in your own backyard or living room, and that you could hear yourself talk — that was very important. Very laid back,” Nguyen explained.

Nguyen’s partner, Kristi Holman, is vice president of Sherpa Management Partners and serves as Eden Lounge’s public relations manager.

Not since Jack’s Backyard in Oak Cliff has there been a documented lesbian-owned bar in Dallas.

Nguyen and Holman said they’re aiming to fill the void left by the closure of Jack’s Backyard in June 2011.

“She (Kathy Jack) really paved the way for us, and we thank her for that — for passing on the torch,” Holman said.

Eden Lounge interior (February 2013)
Nguyen said she didn’t want to bring in investors and dug deep into her life savings to open the bar.

“I didn’t want the headache or to lose people’s money,” Nguyen said. “I wanted to take a chance on my own.”

This is not Nguyen’s first business endeavor. She has previously co-owned two Asian restaurants.
She said she didn’t want the hassle of running a full service restaurant alongside a bar, although Eden Lounge still has a non-functional kitchen in the back — grease trap included.

Nguyen said there is an assortment of restaurants all over Deep Ellum, including Maracas Cocina Mexicana, which frequently sends over staff with platters of complimentary quesadillas for Eden Lounge guests.

Since the beginning of their venture, Nguyen and Holman said the Deep Ellum community has been nothing but accommodating and welcoming.

Deep Ellum Foundation President Barry Annino said Eden Lounge brings a new level of diversity to the neighborhood.

“I think we’re looking for a little more quality and diversity — you know — we don’t have a lot of balance. It’s a lot of the same thing. That’s something Eden brings to the table,” Annino said.

It’s not that Deep Ellum is a stranger to LGBT-related businesses. The LGBT-owned Leather Masters is a staple in the area.

Annino said there have also been places like Mark and Larry’s Stuff, the art shop Casa Mexicana and a coffee shop — all of which are now closed.

Customer reviews were mixed--as they nearly always are. From yelp, here is part of  a positive review from February 2014:

Eden Lounge patrons (April 2013)
I always have a great time when I go to Eden Lounge. They have my favorite drinks - Ruby Red vodka and soda and Fireball on the rocks - always a bonus! The rooftop is definitely the highlight of the place...great patio with heat when its cold and sail shades if you are running from the sun. Friendly bar staff...always. Best owners - if you haven't met Kristi and Lauren, introduce yourself next time you are there. A big, heartfelt thank you to both of them for taking the time and putting in an incredible amount of energy and soul into a place created with us in mind!

And from May 2013:

LOVE Eden's Lounge. Fun place, great service all around. Rooftop patio is nice, great for a large group as well as the downstairs inside. The rooftop patio is also dog friendly. They do not serve food, but you can get food from restaurants just across the street.

But very quickly the place emptied out. From September 2013:
Eden Lounge patrons (July 2013)

ugh....so we came here for a friend's birthday!! 1st time here & unless that dj gets better...that was my last time there!!! i hadn't been in this area in years b/c it was always so packed & too many drunken idiots!! i was very surprised to see how much of a ghost town it had become!!!

From January 2014:

Umm, aside from the fact that this place plays shitty top 40's hits from two years ago, it's COMPLETELY EMPTY on a Saturday night. Shit music.... So shitty.

What went wrong? This negative review (reproduced in part) from April 2014 provides some clues:

Well, I was super exited to find out about another chick bar in Dallas. My partner and I go to Sue Ellen's but find the crowd to be too young and too, well, just too, meh...no class at Sue's at all. Sorry, but we like to have fun and drink and talk and dance, but the music at Sue's is too hip hop for us. Also, they can't mix a good drink for nothin'. We usually go and listen to live music, but that gets old after awhile. Most women that go to Sue's have all known each other forever and are not interested in meeting any new people and the young chicks seem to want to fight if you look at them the wrong way.
Two guys at Eden Lounge (February 2013)

Anyway...onto Eden Lounge. We got dressed up and went on a Saturday night (two weeks ago) and after finding parking on the street we went in. The place was much smaller than the pictures I had seen on the website. Kinda of depressing. Pool table up front  some ladies playing pool, a few chicks sitting along the wall and their friends sitting across the way too big "coffee tables"...Music was soooo loud in such a small space you had to yell to be heard. Big screen TV's line the back wall above the banquets and play music videos that went along with the music that the really bad DJ was playing. Sorry, but they had a dude DJ in a chick bar, really?

In a relatively short time, it appears the gay men rushed in to take over the underutilized space and then the lesbians really stopped coming. From there, death was imminent. Again, from dallasvoice:

Eden Lounge closes its doors
Posted on 02 May 2014 at 10:49am
You may have noticed events at Eden Lounge missing from this week’s Scene in Dallas Voice.

That’s because the Deep Ellum lesbian bar has closed, according to its website earlier this week.

Lauren Nguyen, who opened the bar last year with her partner, confirmed that the bar is closed and details will be available next week.

Nguyen said she decided to get out of the bar business after the gay community didn’t frequent the bar as much as it did when it first opened. It became more of a mixed bar, and she said women then complained that there weren’t enough lesbians.

“I wanted to get into the business for the gay community, but I didn’t get support from the gay community,” she said.  “They came and they stopped coming.”

Dallas Voice featured the couple’s new venture last year after its grand open in January. It was the only the second lesbian bar in Big D along with Sue Ellen’s and only the second documented lesbian-owned bar.

Tiff Khris Cochran hadn’t heard about the bar being closed yet. Cochran is the founder of the lesbian and women-focused social group The SOLID Network and often planned events at Eden.

“Kristi and Lauren are amazing, and I’m very grateful that they took the chance to open a bar for the LGBT community in Dallas,” she said, adding that she wishes them well in the future. “It saddens me that it didn’t last longer.”

While Cochran said Eden was lesbian-owned and had a large women following, she said the venture offered things for everyone and every audience.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Word is Out Women's Bookstore

Linda at Word is Out Women's Bookstore
Word is Out Women's Bookstore

Location: 2015 10th Street, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Opened: 1994

Closed: 2008

One of the many fine women's bookstores that we have lost over the years....

Word is Out won a Best Women's Bookstore Award from Denver Westword in 2006. The write-up tells us a little about the shop and the owners:

Owners and life partners Louise Knapp and Spider Kornblith have womanned Word Is Out for nearly twelve years, and at their place, you find obscure books on any famous or semi-famous woman, from H.D. to H. Clinton. The sunny shop also carries music, jewelry, T-shirts and posters by feminist artists, LBGT pride paraphernalia, and libby/pro-peace bumper stickers. There's even a personal shopper on staff to assist with those gift-giving dilemmas: Reggie, the very butch female toy poodle. Word to your mother.

But the bookstore lasted just another two years. Here's the goodbye letter:

Hello Everyone!
After 14 wonderful years of serving our Boulder area women's and LGBT communities, Word Is Out is closing shop.  Many, many heartfelt thanks to all of you for supporting us over the years!  It's been an incredible experience.  I've loved every minute of it, and I hope I've been able to contribute something to the community.

There are many factors that have gone into this decision, most of them directly affecting the store's continued financial sustainability.  In the years since 1994, we have seen the chain bookstores continue to aggressively compete with and undermine independents.  (I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating: we all need to keep supporting our wonderful array of surviving local independents.  If only large corporate chain bookstores survive, the result will be bland selections determined by buyers at corporate headquarters, who will ultimately decide what gets published at all.  If there are fewer independent stores to support books that deal with the controversial or the marginal, publishers will decline to take on manuscripts that the chains won't carry.)

Louise and Reggie, Word is Out
Women's Bookstore
The proliferation and convenience of on-line bookselling has made a huge impact; the cost of maintaining our physical store, especially rent, has gone up enormously; new technologies have made it easier for people to get information and to enjoy their leisure time, in ways that often bypass what a bookstore an offer; and our efforts to recoup some of our losses, by selling textbooks to CU students, has become a continuing and constant struggle with the CU campus bookstore.  All of these things have converged to make it increasingly difficult for us to keep going.

On the positive side, we also have seen many gains for the feminist and LGBT communities over the years we have been in business, and there are lots more activities and organizations serving Boulder.  Technology has been a force for progress as well, with many options for networking, socializing, and creating community.  So, we find that our presence as a resource and community gathering place has become less urgent and necessary.  As we close the bookstore, we can truly celebrate these successes, and acknowledge the hard work of so many to have made this a reality.  The work has made all of our lives better, and there are fewer of us who feel isolated and unconnected.

There are so many people to whom I'm grateful.  All our wonderful customers, faculty supporters, and everyone who has volunteered or worked at Word Is Out, starting with the shelf-builders in 1994, my web site host, those who helped with the move in 2003, with inventory every year, and with the day-to-day work.  I couldn't have done it without you all.  Finally, I'd like to thank Spider, my life partner, my sidekick, my bookstore cohort, and my best friend. 
My best to you all,
Louise Knapp

Spider and Louise


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kaye's Happy Landing

Location of Kaye's Happy Landing
Location of Kaye's Happy Landing
Kaye's Happy Landing

Location: 3815 South Central Avenue (later 4405 South Central Avenue), Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Opened: August 13, 1941

Closed: Around 1966

First found out about Kaye's on a brand new Arizona LGBT Timeline called Signs of the Times: 25 milestones in Arizona’s LGBT culture that predate Echo:

What’s the best name for a lesbian bar ever? Kaye’s Happy Landing Buffet, of course, which opened its doors on south Central Avenue in 1941. During WWII, happy landing could have been a double entendre. Kaye Elledge was a rather short and gruff woman with the opposite taste in girlfriends: She liked the femme lipstick lesbians. She operated the bar for some 25 years and passed away in 1977.

I was afraid I would get stuck with just this little teaser. Then I found this incredible write-up on Kaye's by John Suever at azgays.com:

Kaye’s Happy Landing

4405 S. Central Ave.*
Phoenix, AZ
Owners:  Kaye Aileen Elledge & Violet Patricia O’Hara-Rector-Brand
Opened:  8/13/1941

Kaye's Happy LandingHappy Landings was one of Phoenix’s first gay bars and was located in South Phoenix on Central near Broadway. The bar initially opened in 1941 at 3815 S. Central Ave. The 1968 edition of the Damron Guide shows the address at 4405 S. Central Ave.
Conducting research for Kaye’s entry for our Phoenix Gay Bar History section wasn’t typical. What’s typical are a lot of dead ends and fruitless queries. The research for this entry was just the opposite, which made the work very exciting and rewarding.  This one had lesbian blackmail letters, big girl bouncer fights, womyn with husbands away at war and more!

During my research I learned that Kaye’s Happy Landings was founded in 1941 by Kaye Aileen Elledge along with Violet “Patricia” O’Hara-Rector-Brand. Records do not indicate how the two met, only that Patricia owned a home in Phoenix and that she rented a room to Kaye.

Kaye was born on July 27, 1911, just a year before Arizona was granted statehood. Kaye’s parents George M. Elledge and Sylvia Madsen raised her in Safford, a small mining town in the southeastern portion of the state. Named after an Arizona Territorial Governor, the town of Safford is said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Main Street in Disneyland.

Kaye eventually left Safford’s Main Street for the big city lights of Central Avenue in Phoenix. By 1940 Kaye was 28 years old, working in a tavern and lived at 509 1st Street in Phoenix. Census records did not provide a north/south direction for the street address making it unclear as to whether the address was downtown or just south of downtown in the warehouse district. Google Maps currently shows a warehouse at 509 S. 1st Street. In the other direction at the corner of 1st Street and Taylor is a recently built residential high-rise, which is next to the Arizona Center and ASU Downtown. If memory serves me, I do recall there being single family homes on that block from early 1900’s.

The same census data gives us a blurry picture of what the household may have looked like. There were six people living at the home, three men and three women. The youngest was 27 and the oldest 35 at the time. It’s difficult to tell the makeup of the group judging by their surnames. Head of the household was Ervin H. Karz with the remaining occupants listed as “lodgers”. They were Albert D. Ashby, Grace Ashby, Kaye Elledge, Josephine Wykoff and Paul Van Wassenhove.

The year after the 1940 Census was taken, a very pregnant Violet “Patricia” Rector left her home in New York City to setup household in Phoenix, Arizona. Her husband, Mr. Rector was an enlisted man and flew for the Royal Air Force. During this time he was on active duty during World War II and either agreed to, or instructed Patricia to move the family to Phoenix where they would wait for his return from the front line.

 In the early months of 1941, Patricia purchased a home and settled in to Phoenix. Later in the year Kaye moves in to one of the spare bedrooms as Pat’s new roommate.

One night, Kaye along with some male friends invites Patricia out for drinks at the South Seas. Listed in the 1960’s editions of The Damron Guide, The South Seas was located on the block where the Chase Tower now stands near Central and Monroe at 32 E. Monroe up until 1969 or ’70. The Chase Tower was completed in 1972 and remains Arizona’s tallest building.

1961 Phoenix White Pages
Kaye’s Happy Landings, Phoenix White Pages (1961)


During this night out, conversation turns to one of the friends discussing a bar he had visited in New Jersey. The bar had an aerospace motif and was quite appealing. Kaye was especially interested in the conversation since she had been in the bar business for many years and enjoyed both working at them and playing at them. These conversations happened on numerous occasions, as Kaye and Patricia would fantasize about opening this perfect bar just the way they wanted and how it would be a tremendous success.

With Pat’s husband away at war, the phrase “Happy Landings” had special meaning to her. She had picked up the phrase from a 1938 movie of the same name. Happy Landing the movie was a musical ice skating comedy that starred Olympic Medalists Sonia Henie and Don Ameche.

 On August 13, 1941 Kaye and Patricia met with the superintendent of the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control. They wished to transfer the liquor license from the current owners of the Broadway Inn to themselves and under the new name of Happy Landings. At the time, the department had a policy that prevented people with less than a year residency in the state to hold a liquor license. That meant that Patricia could not be on the license for another year.

After their trip to see the Department of Liquor Licenses, they went on to the county recorder’s office and signed and filed a certificate of partnership between themselves , reciting that they were doing business under the style and fictitious name of Happy Landings, located at 3815 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ. The recorded document was not specific in the details of the co-partnership.
Between August 13, 1941 and January 12, 1942 Pat put in more than $11,700 of her own funds for upgrades and renovations to the former Broadway Inn.

Tragically, Pat’s husband is killed in action in early 1942. Since we don’t have an exact date of his death, I’ll need to speculate here. Perhaps the bar was started after his death, since it seems hard to imagine the husband allowing his 1940’s wife go purchase a bar and spend over ten-thousand dollars on it with new her lesbian roomie, both roomie and bar sight unseen. In addition, Pat may have been the beneficiary of his insurance policy or whatever money the RAF offered the widows of those killed at war.

Later in 1942 Pat remarried and would change her name to Violet Patricia Rector-O’Hara. With Pat’s new marriage, Kaye decided to move out of the home for the newlyweds. By February of 1945, Pat’s new marriage had ended and by 1949 she decided to move back to New York City with her children, leaving Kaye to manage the business on her own. Before leaving though, Pat attempted to collect on at least a part of what she had invested. Kaye replied that she had been reinvesting the small amount the bar was earning for further upgrades.  The most popular of which was the installation of a pool in the back of the bar.  The bar and bar was packed in summer months.  Let’s not forget this was a time when air conditioning was rare and the was just as hot.

In San Diego Pat met her third husband John Brand. She then returned to Phoenix where she lived from 1951 to 1953. Mr. Brand was enlisted in the Navy and was stationed in Japan in 1953. Pat decided to move there with the children to be close to her new husband.

By 1955 she was back in Phoenix and began to seek legal counsel to resolve the Unhappy Landings issue. Lawyers requested that Kaye provide accounting for the business and its profits and losses. Kaye refused to cooperate. Then Kaye filed a general denial that a partnership ever existed between the two. It was Kaye’s understanding that if the partnership was not legal, that she would not be required to return the funds. The argument was that when the partnership was created, Pat was not allowed on the liquor license so how could the partnership be legal? Initially Kaye prevailed but later at an appeal the tables were turned and Kaye was ordered to repay Pat. But this was not before both of the “ladies” had threatened each other with blackmail letters threatening to reveal what seemed to be lesbian secrets. Kaye claimed that the blackmail letter was the only reason she paid Pat $5000, a payment Pat claims to never have received. Now if I could only figure out how to get access to the blackmail letter exhibits… hmmm.

In the end Pat prevailed and Kaye had to pay the agreed upon amount.

In a separate case, Mrs. Brand paid a visit to the Happy Landings bar in 1957 with two friends. They were met at the door by June Burnett, an employee of the bar. I’m visualizing a female version of Hulk Hogan, but anyway, Miss Burnett advised the group that Kaye did not want them on the property. The group left for the bar across the street. And as you may have guessed, the trio was feeling a bit tipsy on their second approach to Happy Landings. Again they were met by June but this time an argument ensued, then after being struck, or just simply falling, Pat was on the ground hurt. She then went to the hospital where she was treated and paid $200 for the visit.

Her new case was suing Kaye for the $200. During this case, Pat’s lawyers inserted irrelevant and highly prejudicial evidence that the bars customers consist primarily of homosexuals.

The most stunning act of misconduct was in the plaintiff’s lawyers closing statement, “Ladies and gentlemen, there’s only one question that’s here to decide here and that is what kind of a tavern, bars do we want in our community?”

The judges stated that even though objections were made to these revelations, the jury still heard them and the knowledge might prejudice their verdict. The jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff, but it was reversed due to the prejudicial remarks.

Kaye died on February 01, 1977 at the age of 65.  It is not known what became of Mrs. O’Hara-Rector-Brand.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Women-only space is threatening precisely because it's powerful

Great posting from the Life is Suffering blog. Only part of it is reproduced here.

September 17, 2014

Women-only space is threatening precisely because it's powerful

   ➞ womensliberationfront:

"In one flash, I realised that the centres of power in this country – the boys schools, the bullgingdon club, the golf clubs, the gentleman’s clubs, they were male only spaces that consciously and legally excluded women.

This was when I realised why women only space is so threatening to men. And threatening is the word – if it wasn’t threatening we wouldn’t have to spend so long explaining why we want it, justifying why we want it, and being forced to give it up because we’re ‘discriminating against men.’ Women only space is threatening because men know that male-only spaces are spaces of power. They’re the spaces where men make the decisions that govern society. Women only spaces are spaces where women are creating their own power.”

Female-only space is vital to feminist organizing and women’s safety.


Yet another reason we trans women need to leave women only spaces, like mitchfest, alone.

We’ve all had access to various men’s only spaces. Some of us may have chosen not to join any. And yes some of us may not have been allowed to because of our behaviour or clothing (or race, but that’s another issue), but we could have acted differently if we really wanted in. I mean come on, how many of us were boy scouts?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Club Metro

Club Metro
Club Metro ad (1999)

Location: 733 Pierce Butler Route, Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota, USA

Opened: April 1992

Closed: November 3, 2001

Club Planet says the following about Club Metro:

Club Metro Saint Paul, Venue Description Club Metro - This friendly gay bar offers its patrons a place to dance, get sweaty and play pool. Customers skew a little more lesbian here, hence the popularity of the drag king shows and often a larger number of women than men.

And from eHow:

Club Metro is a popular gay and lesbian bar in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Club Metro is a casual bar that is geared towards lesbians -- all people are welcome, however. This lesbian bar offers entertainment for all, including a dance floor, a pool table and a runway. The runway features drag king shows -- women who dress as men. For lesbians or gay men looking for a more women-friendly environment, consider going to Club Metro.

Here's the write-up from City Pages when Club Metro won the Best Lesbian Bar award in 2000.

No one wanders into Club Metro by accident. If you can find the place, squatting off the main streets on what looks like an industrial service road, you can't miss the neon rainbows. And if you miss the neon rainbows, it's difficult to overlook the out clientele (which makes the large population of het couples there on a recent Saturday night a very curious thing, indeed). Women tend to congregate in the Underground, the downstairs poolroom with an upside-down pincushion bar. This bar of one's own, which boasts a leather shop in the basement, drag-king shows every other Friday, go-go girls on Thursdays, and vast numbers of friendly, attractive (and forward) single gals, provides the very best kind of one-stop shopping for a girl on the make--which perhaps explains the consistent and utter lack of competition in this category.

Notice how "het couples" were taking over the space though--not a good sign.

And here's the write-up for the Best Lesbian Bar award in 2001.

A good lesbian bar should be like the one in the Jonathan Richman song: It should take a few moments for you to realize that's the kind of bar you're dancing in. Although Club Metro's location makes it a difficult place to stumble into by chance, the neighborhood-hangout vibe and jovial crowd guarantee you'll need at least one beer before you figure out what makes this place different (and better) than your local Champp's. The Metro has long been praised for its relaxed, accepting atmosphere and attitude-free staff. On a particularly spirited Wednesday Karaoke Night, people of all genders and orientations were rocking the mic and cheering one another on. A talented Gap-type girl performed a hit from Evita, a transgender Donna Summer belted out Motown hits, a drunk guy in a sweat suit stumbled through "Love Shack," and a brave young woman delivered a rendition of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" that could have peeled paint off the walls. Drag-king and go-go girl nights are hugely popular: The shows are always racy, often raunchy, but never disgusting (unlike similar shows at other clubs which will go unmentioned). Metro's popularity can also be attributed to the near-absence of a rude, novelty-seeking frat-boy contingent (unlike at other clubs which will go unmentioned). Weekend nights are packed, weeknights are laid-back, and although actively searching singles can be quite successful, unwanted advances--of any variety--are pleasantly rare.

The space is now a vacant lot.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Happy Hour

Happy Hour
The Happy Hour location in a later

Location: 12801 Harbor Boulevard, Garden Grove (Orange County), California, USA

Opened: c. 1962-1964

Closed: 2003

From the OC Gay Timeline:


The Happy Hour, a lesbian bar, opens in Garden Grove. It remained open until 2003, marking it as the oldest continuously operating lesbian bar in the county.

Or there's this from OC Weekly:

1964 The Happy Hour, a women's bar in Garden Grove, opens. Lured by cheap rents, other gay bars spring up in the city throughout the next 10 years, including Rumour Hazzit, the Tiki Hut, the Mug, the Iron Spur, the Old Bavarian Inn, the Knotty Keg, the Hound's Tooth, the Ranger, the Saddle Club and DOK West. For a while, gay bars in Garden Grove actually outnumber West Hollywood's. Police harassment eventually shuts down most, but the Happy Hour is still there 35 years later.

So pick a date, any date....

More information is found in a Lesbian News article from September 2003:

On September 20, The Happy Hour, a friendly neighborhood lesbian bar located in Orange County, California, will celebrate their fortieth anniversary. The bar has had a tumultuous and colorful history. The club first opened in the early sixties as a beer bar. Many gay clubs opened up and down Garden Grove Boulevard during this decade, including DOK West, Rumor Hazzit, the Iron Spur, the Knotty Keg, the Hound's Tooth, the Ranger, the Tiki Hut and The Mug. Most of them catered to gay men, and the Happy Hour was a haven for lesbians who looked for a safe place to meet and relax. In 1968, Jo Moore look over The Happy Hour and has been running it ever since.

Unfortunately, Happy Hour wasn't a safe place for all women. In fact, it appears that at least some of the patrons were right-wing, nationalist, zenophobic @$$hats. This story from October 2001 is particularly blood curdling:

I recently moved to Orange County, and went to the Happy Hour -- a lesbian bar -- this past weekend, October 27, for a Halloween party. One woman there was educating the women in the bar about what it is like for women in Afghanistan. She was covered in a bloody burka with signs that said, "Oppressed by the Taliban, Murdered by the U.S.A." She was giving out information about RAWA and the Afghan Women's Mission to people.

Unfortunately, some of the white women there were very racist. One woman pulled a chair out from under her as she was sitting, causing her to fall. Several racist women in the bar laughed. Two other racist women pulled her burka costume off of her and threatened to kill her. When she told employees she was assaulted, they in essence told her she deserved it because of her costume, and refused to stop others from assaulting her. All night, people kept talking about her being a "terrorist towel head" and "rag head" and one woman told a bartender she would kill her if she didn't leave.

Someone had written on the chalkboard in the bathroom, "Equality for all women worldwide," but others crossed it out and wrote, "USA - love it or leave it, motherfucker!" White women kept walking by the burka-wearing woman and yelling, "GOD BLESS AMERICA!" When I made a comment about their racial hatred, a white woman told me to "shut up wetback!"

The blatant racims there was extremely appalling! The woman in the burka was doing well educating people, but was completely outnumbered by the racists ganging up on her. A lesbian space should be a safe place for women, not a threatening, racist and anti-woman place to be. The employees at the bar are at least partially responsible for allowing this hatred to exist and people of color to be attacked.

Please call or write the Happy Hour and tell them your are appalled at their racism, and tell them you refuse to patronize their place unless they apologize for their racism, and until they guarantee all patrons, especially people of color, that they won't tolerate racist attacks. Or just tell them you are disgusted at their racist attitudes. Tell the bar employees to inform the bar owner, too.

Call after 2 pm: (714)537-9079

or write:

The Happy Hour
12081 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92864

I've been told that Orange County is known for its racism and lack of political activism, so please, everyone who is able, no matter where you live, just take a few short minutes to write or call! Even men, please call. I saw a few men there that evening. It doesn't matter what you sexual orientation is. Racism is racism, and it takes all of us working together to end it!