Author Topic: Downtown Bars: A History  (Read 8372 times)

Timkin

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #60 on: January 21, 2013, 05:25:46 PM »
Definitely miss the OP ... one of my favorite places from the past.   I presume the end came for it with the replacement of the Acosta Bridge.    A lot of fun times there.

DDC

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #61 on: January 21, 2013, 08:33:45 PM »
Glad this got bumped. Great reading. Some were talking about the building that housed Voodoo and then The Sinclair, currently Secrets. Before Voodoo, who remembers Joann's Chili Bordello? I was fortunate to spend a little time in the 90's in that place. Closest places to a real "Cheers" Bar ever. Where everyone knows your name.  :)
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Foots

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #62 on: August 29, 2015, 02:58:45 PM »
Quote
After touring England and most of the continent of Europe, I returned to Jacksonville. The Classics IV, The Bitter Ind., The Second Coming, future members of The Atlanta Rhythm Section and several other rockers like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Molly Hatchet Band were beginning to eat, sleep and drink rock 'n roll. Other bands like Blackfoot would soon follow. Southern rock was in the womb and Jacksonville was the mother.

great quote from "The Days of Love & Blood" -- I'm going to use it in the Southern Rock thread.
Quote
Later, I was in Jacksonville to discover Gregg, Duane and company were crashing above the R&R Liquor Store on Main Street. It was a funky old apartment with nothing but mattresses and music. This was the real beginnings of Southern Rock.

Where on Main Street???

SE corner of Main and Ashley.  I worked there (and other night spots) 1969-71 for the Provost/Renzler Consortium.

Serious card turners frequented the Waldorf Lounge at E Forsyth and Market; and in the back of Pete's Bar at 517 W Bay between the James Hotel and Pete's Pawn.

Let's not overlook Hans Tanzler's role in screwing with Jax nightlife.  On a humorous note, in late 1971, the city council attempted to outlaw topless dancing and the response was the dancers went bottomless.  I spent a couple of weeks frequently visiting the DCJ posting their bail until the council backed off.

As for corruption, over the years the reputations of Tom Heaney and Dorcas Drake have been sanitized.....but you didn't do liquor business or gambling unless you paid someone.

Oh....as far as I'm concerned, Southern Rock didn't take off until the night Ed King ripped the opening riff of Sweet Home Alabama in the Comic Book Club.

Been a great read and y'all take care.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2015, 03:54:01 PM by Foots »

heights unknown

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #63 on: August 29, 2015, 07:10:00 PM »
Here are a few of my favorites.

1.  Metropolis.   This was on Monroe Street in between Main and Laura.  The owners had been former bartenders at Docksides in orteg/avondale and the opened up this very cool place with Neil Levitsky.  They ended up leaving the building and opening the Milk Bar.  Neil then went on to become one of the founding partners of the original Club Five, and afterwards opened up Starlite Cafe, which is now Birdie's in five points.

2.  MotoLounge.  I absolutely loved this place.  Owned by Lisa Leuthold, it was hipster swing heaven.  On Adams Street just a little further up from the Milk Bar.

3.  The French Quarter.  This was a black draq queen bar on Main Street.  Screaming Drag Queens, over the top fabulosity and campy nonsense on three floors of gay mayhem.  It was naturally demolished.
Hi; I am severely old school. I lived in Jax in the 1960's, we moved away in 1967, and 7 years later I joined the Navy and my first duty station was NAS Cecil Field with an Air Squadron, Attack Squadron 15. Naturally as a Sailor, and intimately familiar with Jacksonville (as a child we lived in Lavilla in one of those 2 story rooming houses at 817 west Duval), I knew where everything was. As best I can remember, I will share what clubs were down there, at the time, that I frequented. One more thing, I was pretty liberal back then (still am), and me and a friend, who was bisexual, would crawl from bar to bar...so, here we go: 1) Howards Bar - a strip joint which was at the foot of the Main Street Bridge, kind of east; 2) R&R Lounge - A strip joint which was at the corner of church and main as I remember correctly...this was one of my favorite hangouts on the weekend, and for Sailors from the 3 Navy bases back in the day; 3) The French Quarter - yes, it was a gay bar, and yes, us Sailors would sneak in...it was right above and on top of the R&R Lounge which was a strip joint, and, there was a secret stairway from the R&R Lounge up to the French Quarter (if you knew the bartenders or the owner they would let you go upstairs to the gay bar)...kind of weird but this happened; 4) The Night Owl Lounge - A strip bar on church street one block west of main right down from the French Quarter gay bar and the R&R Lounge...this was also frequented quite often by Sailors; 5) The Flamingo Bar and Lounge - on Main street between duval and church, not far from The French Quarter, R&R Lounge, and The Night Owl Lounge...THIS PLACE WAS WILD AND OFF THE CHAIN AND I LOVED IT...all kinds of people came into the Famingo to water down before hitting the strip joints, gay clubs, and other night clubs downtown...straights, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, drag queens, everyone came to the flamingo, and, we had a super great time and NO ONE WAS PHOBIC...even Sailors in uniform came in from time to time as did Sailors like me in civilian clothes..during the day the Flamingo was traditionally straight...but around 5:00 PM or so, all of the goblins and gouls came out and into it...and it was off the chain....it closed down in 1984; 6) Old Plantation or "OP" - a disco at the foot of riverside avenue and water street where the spaghetti overpasses now are in downtown...it was the only building there before it was demolished...all kinds of people also frequented the OP; 7) The Producers - was a gay and straight friendly disco which was on the top floor of the old Mayflower Hotel where the Everbank building (formerly Southern Bell) now is...It was lovely up there as you could see the River...Monroe Midyette, now deceased, and who was the owner of several gay clubs and other bars and watering holes in Jax back in the day, was the Owner of this disco...Monroe was also the owner of the French Quarters, the gay bar which sat on the second floor on top of the R&R "strip club" Lounge on the corner of church and main; 8) Brothers Disco - was a gay club and straight friendly club where the old 3D (now a lesbian club "INKAHOOTZ" I understand) was located...Brothers was very nice and was also owned, initially, by Monroe Midyette (I might be wrong,  I think Monroe had a partner named Don); 9) There were numerous rinky dink taverns/bars that were on main street in Springfield but these were very roughshod filled with red necks, street hustlers (male), prostitutes (female), and anyone else who frequented them....these type of bars/taverns were all throughout springfield back in the day when springfield was run down, very low income, etc...these little bars and taverns had all types of races and ethnicities who frequented them as well, so though they were run or mostly frequented by rednecks, blacks, Mexicans, etc. also frequented them. This is it for now; no, I am not gay, but I am very liberal and always hung out with everyone regardless of who they were. We had fun back then and enjoyed ourselves without ipads, iphones, computers, cell phones, etc. Just saying. I'll add more as I can remember...it's been a long, long time.
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thelakelander

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #64 on: August 29, 2015, 07:54:34 PM »
Very interesting couple of posts. My question for the oldtimers is what happened to cause all of these places to close? Also, a lot sound like they were in buildings that have since been demolished. Did the demolition of these structures have something to do with a movement to "purge" the downtown area of its nightlife?

heights unknown

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #65 on: August 29, 2015, 08:50:40 PM »
Very interesting couple of posts. My question for the oldtimers is what happened to cause all of these places to close? Also, a lot sound like they were in buildings that have since been demolished. Did the demolition of these structures have something to do with a movement to "purge" the downtown area of its nightlife?
I believe so Lakelander; The French Quarter on the corner of church and main and the R&R Lounge, the strip joint on the first floor below the French Quarter was in a building that was demolished, and nothing else was built there; I believe that now is a surface lot. The Mayflower Hotel of course was demolished in the early 1980's to make way for the Southern Bell Building. Hence, Monroe Midyette, nightclub and disco mogul of the 70's and early 80's, had to move the old Producers Night Club, that was on top of the Mayflower, to a new spot inside of the Phillips Highway Mall. The places where most or all of these bars, disco's, and taverns or nightclubs once sit, are either now surface parking lots, and only one of them was demolished (in the building that it was in, the Mayflower), and something meaningful built in its place. I think our old guard civic leaders of the 60's and 70's meant well, and really thought that developers, investors, and others, would immediately come along and, "build it because they will come," however that never happened. None of these bars, nightclubs, etc., would ever had lasted in my opinion, but something could have been done more creatively and more meaningful to and for those buildings that once housed these bars and clubs towards the improvement, betterment, etc. of the urban core and downtown rather than demolishing them right out with no plan or vision, and the subsequent properties sitting idle, blighted, and with no use for decades.
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johncb

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #66 on: August 30, 2015, 02:53:17 AM »
I know its an OLD thread,but Lord ,the memories it brought up ! I remember one night at the French Quarter we were all hanging around in the parking lot after closing and a truck full of rednecks pulled up and started running their mouths and this one transvestite named " Miss TT" took umbrage at their actions,whipped this big old .38 out of her gigantic purse ,and started popping off rounds ! Those boys left half their tread peeling out of there ! Picture a little black queen in gold lame standing in the middle of the street shooting ! Hilarious ! Miss Cleo,Miss TT,Rose,Jean,Theresa Anteya Larika Lakeesh ,Bea,so many old friends long gone,so many memories of good times.
I was a little white middle class burbs baby (15 !) and those girls took me in and protected me and befriended me and never once did me a dirty turn. And the Flamingo ,my God,how many times did my underage ass roll out of there drunker than a hoot owl clinging to the arms of my latest "love" ! Soldiers,dockworkers,businessmen,lawyers,they all went there looking for a trip on the dark side ! But the OP,now there was a legendary bar and my personal favorite. Does anyone remember Dons notorious After parties when the bar closed ? More than once I rolled out of those when the dawn was breaking. Caligula would have blushed at some of the antics in those after parties!
The Downtowner (remember Little Joe,the bartender? ) was another personal favorite,and it assuredly got wide open in there after the sun went down ! Remember the copper covered tables and the wallpaper with nudes ? I used to laugh so hard in there my stomach would hurt the next day. Some batshit crazy yet hilariously funny people ! I think a lot of those places closed because of the landing and the southbank opened up.I had some lovely times in River Rally,Harbormasters,Fat Tuesdays (Oooo,Triple Bypass,yum!) ,but they sure didn't beat the seedy ,seductive bars of my misspent youth.

heights unknown

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #67 on: August 30, 2015, 11:03:42 AM »
I know its an OLD thread,but Lord ,the memories it brought up ! I remember one night at the French Quarter we were all hanging around in the parking lot after closing and a truck full of rednecks pulled up and started running their mouths and this one transvestite named " Miss TT" took umbrage at their actions,whipped this big old .38 out of her gigantic purse ,and started popping off rounds ! Those boys left half their tread peeling out of there ! Picture a little black queen in gold lame standing in the middle of the street shooting ! Hilarious ! Miss Cleo,Miss TT,Rose,Jean,Theresa Anteya Larika Lakeesh ,Bea,so many old friends long gone,so many memories of good times.
I was a little white middle class burbs baby (15 !) and those girls took me in and protected me and befriended me and never once did me a dirty turn. And the Flamingo ,my God,how many times did my underage ass roll out of there drunker than a hoot owl clinging to the arms of my latest "love" ! Soldiers,dockworkers,businessmen,lawyers,they all went there looking for a trip on the dark side ! But the OP,now there was a legendary bar and my personal favorite. Does anyone remember Dons notorious After parties when the bar closed ? More than once I rolled out of those when the dawn was breaking. Caligula would have blushed at some of the antics in those after parties!
The Downtowner (remember Little Joe,the bartender? ) was another personal favorite,and it assuredly got wide open in there after the sun went down ! Remember the copper covered tables and the wallpaper with nudes ? I used to laugh so hard in there my stomach would hurt the next day. Some batshit crazy yet hilariously funny people ! I think a lot of those places closed because of the landing and the southbank opened up.I had some lovely times in River Rally,Harbormasters,Fat Tuesdays (Oooo,Triple Bypass,yum!) ,but they sure didn't beat the seedy ,seductive bars of my misspent youth.
JCB...wow, I tell you, I wasn't gay, maybe curious or quasi bisexual, but I (and we) had a ball back then. One reason I am replying; I run a private social service agency in Sarasota and Manatee Counties Florida. About 7 years ago, a kid, then 29, came to me for help; his name is Brendon (he is now 37), and after doing an intake on him, he told me he was from Jacksonville, and after further conversation, he told me that he was living with his roommate and close friend; I casually asked, being that he was from Jax, what his friends name was; he said DON STRICKLAND; I remembered a Don Strickland from back in the day who owned the old OP, and later the 3D; and they live here in our area in Bradenton. Brendon still calls and visits me from time to time and keeps in touch; it's a small, small world!
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ChriswUfGator

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #68 on: August 30, 2015, 02:08:40 PM »
So...at no point during what was obviously a 20-year wave of destruction that took Jax from an actual city (read stories above) to a bunch of empty parking lots, did anybody say, hey, wait a minute, this isn't working, let's stop before all we have left is parking lots? It's sad reading this, and knowing what it looks like now.


johncb

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #69 on: August 30, 2015, 03:18:52 PM »
I know its an OLD thread,but Lord ,the memories it brought up ! I remember one night at the French Quarter we were all hanging around in the parking lot after closing and a truck full of rednecks pulled up and started running their mouths and this one transvestite named " Miss TT" took umbrage at their actions,whipped this big old .38 out of her gigantic purse ,and started popping off rounds ! Those boys left half their tread peeling out of there ! Picture a little black queen in gold lame standing in the middle of the street shooting ! Hilarious ! Miss Cleo,Miss TT,Rose,Jean,Theresa Anteya Larika Lakeesh ,Bea,so many old friends long gone,so many memories of good times.
I was a little white middle class burbs baby (15 !) and those girls took me in and protected me and befriended me and never once did me a dirty turn. And the Flamingo ,my God,how many times did my underage ass roll out of there drunker than a hoot owl clinging to the arms of my latest "love" ! Soldiers,dockworkers,businessmen,lawyers,they all went there looking for a trip on the dark side ! But the OP,now there was a legendary bar and my personal favorite. Does anyone remember Dons notorious After parties when the bar closed ? More than once I rolled out of those when the dawn was breaking. Caligula would have blushed at some of the antics in those after parties!
The Downtowner (remember Little Joe,the bartender? ) was another personal favorite,and it assuredly got wide open in there after the sun went down ! Remember the copper covered tables and the wallpaper with nudes ? I used to laugh so hard in there my stomach would hurt the next day. Some batshit crazy yet hilariously funny people ! I think a lot of those places closed because of the landing and the southbank opened up.I had some lovely times in River Rally,Harbormasters,Fat Tuesdays (Oooo,Triple Bypass,yum!) ,but they sure didn't beat the seedy ,seductive bars of my misspent youth.
JCB...wow, I tell you, I wasn't gay, maybe curious or quasi bisexual, but I (and we) had a ball back then. One reason I am replying; I run a private social service agency in Sarasota and Manatee Counties Florida. About 7 years ago, a kid, then 29, came to me for help; his name is Brendon (he is now 37), and after doing an intake on him, he told me he was from Jacksonville, and after further conversation, he told me that he was living with his roommate and close friend; I casually asked, being that he was from Jax, what his friends name was; he said DON STRICKLAND; I remembered a Don Strickland from back in the day who owned the old OP, and later the 3D; and they live here in our area in Bradenton. Brendon still calls and visits me from time to time and keeps in touch; it's a small, small world!
My God,I long thought Don was dead !!! Hes got to be in his 70s now! He always liked them much younger . Id venture to say 75% of the people I knew in the bad old days are no longer with us,so it really surprises me hes still kicking !

johncb

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #70 on: August 30, 2015, 03:21:14 PM »
So...at no point during what was obviously a 20-year wave of destruction that took Jax from an actual city (read stories above) to a bunch of empty parking lots, did anybody say, hey, wait a minute, this isn't working, let's stop before all we have left is parking lots? It's sad reading this, and knowing what it looks like now.
Chris,are you new to jax ? I ask that because the city government has always done exactly what they want no matter how much people scream. Im in my 50s,and its never been any different. The people mover is the greatest example of them all.Well,until the courthouse, that is.

TheCat

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #71 on: August 30, 2015, 03:39:30 PM »
Quote
After touring England and most of the continent of Europe, I returned to Jacksonville. The Classics IV, The Bitter Ind., The Second Coming, future members of The Atlanta Rhythm Section and several other rockers like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Molly Hatchet Band were beginning to eat, sleep and drink rock 'n roll. Other bands like Blackfoot would soon follow. Southern rock was in the womb and Jacksonville was the mother.

great quote from "The Days of Love & Blood" -- I'm going to use it in the Southern Rock thread.
Quote
Later, I was in Jacksonville to discover Gregg, Duane and company were crashing above the R&R Liquor Store on Main Street. It was a funky old apartment with nothing but mattresses and music. This was the real beginnings of Southern Rock.

Where on Main Street???

SE corner of Main and Ashley.  I worked there (and other night spots) 1969-71 for the Provost/Renzler Consortium.

Serious card turners frequented the Waldorf Lounge at E Forsyth and Market; and in the back of Pete's Bar at 517 W Bay between the James Hotel and Pete's Pawn.

Let's not overlook Hans Tanzler's role in screwing with Jax nightlife.  On a humorous note, in late 1971, the city council attempted to outlaw topless dancing and the response was the dancers went bottomless.  I spent a couple of weeks frequently visiting the DCJ posting their bail until the council backed off.

As for corruption, over the years the reputations of Tom Heaney and Dorcas Drake have been sanitized.....but you didn't do liquor business or gambling unless you paid someone.

Oh....as far as I'm concerned, Southern Rock didn't take off until the night Ed King ripped the opening riff of Sweet Home Alabama in the Comic Book Club.

Been a great read and y'all take care.

Go on...tell us more about how Tanzler screwed with night life. Was it just banning of topless dancing?

TheCat

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #72 on: August 30, 2015, 03:59:59 PM »
Court upholds ban on dancing topless in Jacksonville fl (Sarasota herald-tribune)

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1755&dat=19791128&id=5zogAAAAIBAJ&sjid=s2cEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5412,7059524&hl=en

heights unknown

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #73 on: August 30, 2015, 05:15:15 PM »
So...at no point during what was obviously a 20-year wave of destruction that took Jax from an actual city (read stories above) to a bunch of empty parking lots, did anybody say, hey, wait a minute, this isn't working, let's stop before all we have left is parking lots? It's sad reading this, and knowing what it looks like now.
Yeah Chris; it's a crying shame. It seems that when they started the demolition (derby), it was on to see just how many empty surface lots they could create in downtown Jax. At least they could have panned out a plan for most of those old buildings to save them and renovate and reconstruct them into lofts, apartments, or other type businesses with residential above.
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heights unknown

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Re: Downtown Bars: A History
« Reply #74 on: August 30, 2015, 05:20:40 PM »
I know its an OLD thread,but Lord ,the memories it brought up ! I remember one night at the French Quarter we were all hanging around in the parking lot after closing and a truck full of rednecks pulled up and started running their mouths and this one transvestite named " Miss TT" took umbrage at their actions,whipped this big old .38 out of her gigantic purse ,and started popping off rounds ! Those boys left half their tread peeling out of there ! Picture a little black queen in gold lame standing in the middle of the street shooting ! Hilarious ! Miss Cleo,Miss TT,Rose,Jean,Theresa Anteya Larika Lakeesh ,Bea,so many old friends long gone,so many memories of good times.
I was a little white middle class burbs baby (15 !) and those girls took me in and protected me and befriended me and never once did me a dirty turn. And the Flamingo ,my God,how many times did my underage ass roll out of there drunker than a hoot owl clinging to the arms of my latest "love" ! Soldiers,dockworkers,businessmen,lawyers,they all went there looking for a trip on the dark side ! But the OP,now there was a legendary bar and my personal favorite. Does anyone remember Dons notorious After parties when the bar closed ? More than once I rolled out of those when the dawn was breaking. Caligula would have blushed at some of the antics in those after parties!
The Downtowner (remember Little Joe,the bartender? ) was another personal favorite,and it assuredly got wide open in there after the sun went down ! Remember the copper covered tables and the wallpaper with nudes ? I used to laugh so hard in there my stomach would hurt the next day. Some batshit crazy yet hilariously funny people ! I think a lot of those places closed because of the landing and the southbank opened up.I had some lovely times in River Rally,Harbormasters,Fat Tuesdays (Oooo,Triple Bypass,yum!) ,but they sure didn't beat the seedy ,seductive bars of my misspent youth.
JCB...wow, I tell you, I wasn't gay, maybe curious or quasi bisexual, but I (and we) had a ball back then. One reason I am replying; I run a private social service agency in Sarasota and Manatee Counties Florida. About 7 years ago, a kid, then 29, came to me for help; his name is Brendon (he is now 37), and after doing an intake on him, he told me he was from Jacksonville, and after further conversation, he told me that he was living with his roommate and close friend; I casually asked, being that he was from Jax, what his friends name was; he said DON STRICKLAND; I remembered a Don Strickland from back in the day who owned the old OP, and later the 3D; and they live here in our area in Bradenton. Brendon still calls and visits me from time to time and keeps in touch; it's a small, small world!
My God,I long thought Don was dead !!! Hes got to be in his 70s now! He always liked them much younger . Id venture to say 75% of the people I knew in the bad old days are no longer with us,so it really surprises me hes still kicking !
@ JCB.....no, he's still alive; he hung up his club owner hat and is retired I think from what Brendon told me. What I remember most about him is that he seemed miserable and moody most of the time especially to his employees. Brendon tells me that he is still that way but of course to only those around him. Brendon came over for a visit one day and I took him home, and Don was sitting outside. He's still tall, but heavier (as us all), and his hair is Lillie white. He waved and I spoke, and I told him that I was a patron of his back in the day, and spent many a dollar in his clubs. He laughed. Yes, he lives in Bradenton, Florida; does he know you? Next time I see Brendon, I'll let him know about this thread, these posts, and you.
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