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Legendary Night Clubs

CBGB's - Dingwalls - Hacienda - Loft - Music Box - Paradise Garage - Chez Régine - Warehouse


Paradise Garage

There are two US nightclubs that had simultaneously broken the barriers of race and sexual preference, two clubs that were to pass on into dance music legend - Chicago's Warehouse and New York's Paradise Garage. Up until then, and after, the norm was for black, hispanic, white, straight and gay to segregate themselves, but with the Warehouse, opened in 1977 and presided over by Frankie Knuckles and the Paradise Garage where Larry Levan spun, the emphasis was on the music. And the music was as varied as the clienteles - r'n'b based Black dance music and disco peppered with things as diverse as The Clash's 'Magnificent Seven'. For most people, these were the places that acted as breeding grounds for the music that eventually came to be known after the clubs - house and garage.

New York Scenes

Peak year: 1969
You might see Andy, but probably not. For sure you saw Mickey Ruskin.

Peak year: 1971
Steve Ostrow’s place to get all pruney listening to Bette and Barry.

Peak year: 1972
Where the uptown disco crowd listened to “Rock the Boat.”

Peak year: 1973
David Mancuso’s masterpiece, the greatest of the early underground discos.

Peak years: 1976–78
Larry Levinson’s swinging dungeon. The sex was overrated; the dancing wasn’t.

Peak years: 1976–79 In all its grungy glory, the single best center of any scene.

Peak years: 1977–79
Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager’s star-studded, coke-fueled disco palace, a cultural landmark with laughing gas.

Peak year: 1979
If Steve Mass let you sit upstairs, you were royal, in a vaguely cruddy way.

Peak year: 1982
A three-tiered emporium of fabulously loud insignificance.

Peak year: 1982
Was Larry Levan the greatest spinner in history? Anyone who was there thinks so.

Peak year: 1985
Changing monthly themes (Sex, Faith, Body Oddities) made it feel like every night was Halloween.

Peak year: 1987
The church setting always made you feel like you’d be spanked when you got home.

Peak year: 1989
When Avenue A was the far east. Nirvana played “About a Girl” here, and “Polly.”

Peak year
: 1987
The dirigible of the downtown scene. Now an NYU dorm.

--Newyorkmetro.com [May 2004]

Body and Soul

  • Body And Soul This is what House music is all about. Body & Soul, the only Sunday afternoon party in New York City occupies the same space as the legendary Shelter, home of Timmy Regisford and garage heads of the late 1980's. With Francois Kevorkian, Joe Clausell and Danny Krivit on the decks from 3:00 pm till 10:00pm every Sunday, there is no better place in the world to experience what House music is all about; positivity, unity and bangin' tracks. Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, male, female, straight & gay, everyone is here to get along and groove to the best the New York underground has to offer.

    Music Box

  • Music Box Chicago, Ron Hardy created the environment for the house explosion. Where Knuckles' sound was still very much based in disco, Hardy was the DJ that went for the rawest, wildest rhythm tracks he could find and he made The Music Box the inspirational temple for pretty much every DJ and producer that was to come out of the Chicago scene

    Paradise Garage

  • Paradise Garage New York, 1976: The Paradise Garage was the legendary club which was located at 84 King Street, New York from 1976 till 1987. The Paradise Garage club gave its name to garage music, New York's flavor of underground dance music. .

    The Warehouse

  • Warehouse Chicago, 1978. The Windy City is not exactly a dance music mecca. Like the majority of American cities still are today, Chicago was a rock and blues town. Plenty of live music and beer swilling bars, but not much in the way of dancing or clubs. A young DJ, newly arrived from New York, opens a club named The Warehouse, and will unwittingly change the lives of thousands of people in the late 80's and early '90s. That DJ was Frankie Knuckles

    The Loft

  • The Loft David Mancuso: [...] I started giving rent parties which basically it's still down to the same thing, to manage and afford a life-style, that's basically the goal, to have a good time


  • Stonewall The Stonewall was a gay bar in Greenwich Village that was raided--for no apparent reason--by the police in the late 60's for being a gay establishment. [...] The Stonewall Riots are considered the birth of militant gay rights and ushered in the era of gay pride

    Studio 54

    Blahzay ... blahzay [...]

    Other Clubs

  • Better Days Opened in the 1972 and closed in 1988. It was located on West 49th Street. DJs Tee Scott, Bruce Forest, Francois Kevorkian , Kenny Carpenter, Larry Patterson, Shep Pettibone, and others played to a loyal, attitudeless black crowd over a period of more than 15 years
  • Sanctuary "...this discotheque opened up in a converted German Baptist church in the Hell's Kitchen area of New York in 1969 and was probably the first nightclub. The altar was the deejay box." The Loft
  • Sand Piper on Fire Island Tom Moulton related
  • Galaxy 21 New York area club. 1976: Walter Gibbons was the DJ, Francois K. had been hired to play live drums on top of Walter's mixes. Kenny Carpenter, who must have been 17 at the time, did the lights.
  • Gallery New York club where both Larry Levan as well as Frankie Knuckles learned their basic mixing skills. It was owned by Nicky Siano. Loleatta's first performance as a club artist was at The Gallery.
  • Continental Baths Levan got his break in 1972 when the DJ at the club where he worked, the Continental Baths, was sacked. The owner told him to go home and get some records [...]
  • Experiment 4 In 1976, Jellybean was spinnin' here. Francois K replaced him for an evening. This was Francois K's debut as a DJ.
  • Private Eyes The first in NYC to have video as the main attraction--34 screens playing many different images at once while people danced or just hung out. Run by Steve Sukman, it was a big record industry hangout from 1983 to 1987.
  • Fun House Jellybean's club. 'Stone Fox Chase' by Area Code 615 was a popular track there.
  • http://www.hyperactivemedia.com/5am/index.html Steve's incredibly nicely done Clubs/DJs page
  • Now
    • Loft Legendary New York club, founded in 1970 by David Mancuso. Loft Classics.
    • Shelter Timmy Regisford was and is chief DJ of this venue.
    • Zanzibar "I remember when Zanz[ibar] was the Lincoln Motel, and when it became Zanz (1979/1980?), I think every Wednesday, they had one of the top jocks at that time play. Tee Scott, Larry Levan, Hippie Torales , etc.. That's what got it going. I don't recall Tony Humphries. Merlin Bobb was a doorman.


    1. Larry Levan's Paradise Garage [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
      I Got My Mind Made Up - Instant Funk | Handsome Man - Sparkle | First Time Around - Skyy | Double Cross - First Choice | The Greatest Performance Of My Life - Loleatta Holloway | How High - Salsoul Orchestra | Make It Last Forever - Inner Life.
      Orginally released as a two 12" promo-pack, this CD brings together the best of Larry Levan's (re) mixes on Salsoul records. Bonus track is 'Make it Last Forever', liner notes by Francois Kevorkian.


    1. My Life and The Paradise Garage : Keep On Dancin' - Mel Cheren [1 book , Amazon US]
      I started this site with a page on Larry Levan, so ... back to the roots? This - so I've heard - is not a great book. For completists only.

      "Stonewall. Gay Liberation. The early days of disco. The Paradise Garage. AIDS. House Music. Finally, a New York Story that is captivating, intriguing, and educational. The sights and sounds of Manhattan will never be the same." -- Michael Paoletta, Dance Music Editor, Billboard Magazine.

    2. Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital - Sarah Thornton [Amazon US]
      Focusing on youth cultures that revolve around dance clubs and raves in Great Britain and the U.S., Sarah Thornton highlights the values of authenticity and hipness and explores the complex hierarchies that emerge within the domain of popular culture. She portrays club cultures as "taste cultures" brought together by micro-media like flyers and listings, transformed into self-conscious "subcultures" by such niche media as the music and style press, and sometimes recast as "movements" with the aid of such mass media as tabloid newspaper front pages. She also traces changes in the recording medium from a marginal entertainment in the 50s to the clubs and raves of the 90s.

      Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Thornton coins the term "subcultural capital" to make sense of distinctions made by "cool" youth, noting particularly their disparagement of the "mainstream" against which they measure their alternative cultural worth. Well supported with case studies, readable, and innovative, Club Cultures will become a key text in cultural and media studies and in the sociology of culture.

      "Skipping from discos to acid houses to raves, the world within the scene is dissected by theoretical insight and first hand experience . . . Thornton never falls short on hipster jargon." -- Bikini

      "A wonderful book, a delight to read, and a real contribution to the literature on popular music and youth culture and to the broader literature of cultural studies and popular culture." -- Lawrence Grossberg, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

      "Imagine a book that could be subtitled Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Dance But Didn't Even Know Such Questions Existed." -- Q magazine (three star rating)

      "A highly accessible yet rigorously written study of popular culture, with some pertinent points about what clubbing means for the gals . . . An important contribution not only to current media debates, but also that oft overlooked question of club music and gender." -- Everywoman

      "Essential reading, and especially valuable for those veteran clubbers who might be finding it difficult to remember for themselves -- if you know what I mean." -- The Pulse

      "[If a] critical analysis of the far-reaching cultural effects of clubbing sets your pulse racing, this thoroughly researched book makes for an essential bedside companion." -- Musik

    3. Stonewall - Martin Duberman [1 book, Amazon US]
      As a straight female raised in the bible belt, my level of education about the Gay Rights movement was at best minimal. We learned about Women's Rights and Civil Rights in school, but never Gay Rights. Anyway, I became very interested in Gay Literature earlier this year, and was often confused by references to Stonewall and other historical events/places/people.
      Mr. Duberman's book, which, to be honest, I picked because it was the only book of its type available at the bookstore here in my small Texas town, was interesting and a fast, entertaining read. I especially liked the way Duberman followed a small group of people over a long period of time. Learning about an historical event through the eyes of people who were actually there gave me a far better understanding than a bland, general history might have. -- acrobaticcat for Amazon.com

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