Gay Bar | News | Salt Lake City

Oldest Gay Bar West of the Mississippi Torn Down?


Salt Lake City's FOX 13 takes a look at The RC Lounge, which they claim was the oldest gay bar in the western U.S. until it was torn down a few weeks ago.


Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Isn't the oldest gay bar the Double Header in Seattle? Even if you don't count the 1930s Casino, 'Madame Peabody's Dancing Academy for Young Ladies' downstairs...

    Posted by: Lester | Nov 24, 2009 12:00:42 AM

  2. It's sad that a part of local history was lost. I hope there is someone who has photos and perhaps artifacts that can be preserved in an archive so that future generations can see what gay life was like back in the 40's,50's 60's 70's etc.So much of our past is lost and gone forever. It's important that young people be educated about our past-lest they become complacent about the future.

    Posted by: robert | Nov 24, 2009 12:05:47 AM

  3. It is indeed. Fascinating story.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Nov 24, 2009 12:27:10 AM

  4. Fox13 has done a bang up job this past 18 months. Another fine report for the ol' collection.

    Posted by: Chino Blanco | Nov 24, 2009 1:22:23 AM

  5. Lester is absolutely right. The Doubleheader in Seattle's Pioneer Square has been a gay dive bar since the repeal of Prohibition. It's mostly mixed these days, but it's still in business and the drag queens still stop by.

    Posted by: Smartypants | Nov 24, 2009 5:55:00 AM

  6. It's sad to hear that soem Cities aer loosing their oldest Gay Bars for whatever reason. Ours, in Houston, is/was Mary's. The bar shut down awhile back and now there is a group in the Howton Gay Community tryint to save the Memorial Garden that was started out in the back of the bar. What the City of Houston hadn't realized is that there are human ashes of those close to the community are buried on the property. The late owner and his German Sheperd, a leading Female Impersonator and a few others are all back in the Garden and now we are trying to get the site preserved for the Gay Community at large. Hoefully, if Annise is elected Mayor, we might have a chance!

    Posted by: Steve Kerbow | Nov 24, 2009 10:49:23 AM

  7. The Scenic Bar in Toledo, Ohio closed a few years ago after 50 years on continuous operation. Toledo is a bit odd--a working class, conservative town that has had at least 3 and sometimes 5 gay bars since the late 60's, with the the scenic as the "Mother bar". It sat on a block adjacent to an "adult bookstore', a tiny Greek restaurant, an insurance office and a Catholic bookstore--all life's need's in one shot. I tried unsuccessfully to interest folks in putting together an oral history for deposit in the Toledo Library's Local History collection but nobody responded. We are too careless about preservation of our pasts, wherever we live. It's good that even a Fox affiliate in SLC did a decent job on the RC Lounge.

    Posted by: gregorybrown | Nov 24, 2009 11:15:46 AM

  8. Ah, the memories that come rushing back from the 1970s when I came out and found my identity at the RC.

    Posted by: enrev | Nov 24, 2009 12:57:54 PM

  9. I'll never forget my first evening in the emerald city, April '86. My pals Kenny and Jerry said they were taking me to the hottest bar in town. Turned out to be polka night at the Double Header...

    Posted by: Mark Douglas | Nov 24, 2009 10:02:11 PM

  10. Is it perhaps our obsession with youth that is resulting in complacency about our tribe's history? One of the wake-up calls in the aftermath of Proposition 8's passage two years ago was the vast number of young folks who took to the streets with little or no idea how many before them had done the same. We were stunned at the number that had never heard of Stonewall. It was about the same time that West Hollywood's Different Lights Bookstore closed it doors forever. While the reasons given were consistent with the demise of other brick and mortar bookstores folding in the shadow of Amazon and other online retailers, I couldn't help but to marvel at the irony of our community dropping $40 million for the NO on 8 campaign yet being unable to put together a "community chest" to save a landmark so central to our history and liberation. The church that I pastor in West Hollywood is up against a similar fate. Crescent Heights United Methodist Church is the oldest continually operating institution and last Protestant church within the City proper, and the first Reconciling Congregation West of the Mississippi. Over the last 3 decades it has been the "room at the inn" for dozens of fledgling LGBTQ non-profits and "do-good-nick" projects including: Project Angel Food, MCCLA, E.A.G.L.E.S. (LAUSD's LGBT High School), the West Hollywood Cityhood campaign, the Gay Men's Chorus, the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center (So Cal's first medical marijuana cooperative), and California Faith for Equality (the NO on 8 religious coalition), to name a few. Historically, all across the country, we've taken refuge in urban ghettos, transformed them into thriving meccas, and carved homelands from the mountains of our oppression for the people of the global genetic Gay-aspora. What price the assimilation borne of our progress and our headlong propensity to never look back.
    Praying for a Homophile-Renaissance
    pastor Scott

    Posted by: Rev. Scott Imler | Jan 15, 2011 8:13:30 PM

  11. Gregory Brown I would be most interested in talking with you about the Scenic bar in Toledo,Ohio and all the other gay Toledo bars. I'm gathering data to preserve Toledo gay history. Get in touch with me at
    Also interested in talking with anyone else that knows some history of gay bars in Toledo,Oh.

    Posted by: Rick Cornett | May 30, 2012 6:33:11 PM

Post a comment


« «Mrs. Betty Bowers Takes on the Mormon Church« «