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The second gay club in Nottingham was Mario's, on Stanford Street near what is now the Broadmarsh Centre. It converted from a teeny-bopper's club to a gay club in 1971/1972.
Though often a bit tatty around the edges, it had a good and friendly atmosphere and continued successfully for over 10 years, changing its name to Shades and then to Whispers. Its building is now called Stanford House.
1973 saw the opening of La Chic in what is now Albion House on Canal Street.
La Chic was ground breaking in being the first club in the UK to have a licence which stated that it was specifically for use by gay men and lesbians - a situation which made headlines in the Nottingham Evening Post. It closed in 1977 and re-opened in 1981-5 as Part Two.
CLICK ON THE PICTURE FOR MORE INFORMATION
The Old Dog and Partridge was probably the most popular gay bar in the 1970s.
Like many gay bars of its time, the bar at the Dog and Partridge was a separate bar (here it was the back bar) in a straight pub.
Sometimes such bars had signs like "Private Party" to attempt to keep the straights out. It was one of the early manifestations of the Bradley family's involvement in gay Nottingham.
Sue Pollard says:
I met my first gay man when I was fifteen. It was very much under wraps then as you can imagine. They all gathered in the Dog & Partridge pub - in the back room with their Pringle shirts. I loved their sense of humour, I totally clicked with it. I guess I just offered them empathy and totally accepted them for who they are. I cannot stand bitchy queens though, they piss me off.”
The Hearty Goodfellow (Maid Marian Way)
At the end of the 1970s the "Hearty" took over as the most popular gay bar in Nottingham and held that position until about 1982.
The downstairs bar was the gay bar and often there was a "Private Party" sign in front of it. The bar on the first floor was occasionally used by CHE for gay discos.
For a short time between the slow death of the Hearty Goodfellow and the birth of Gatsby's, the Dragon - over the road from Angel Row library - was a popular gay bar.
On one night, the bar was invaded by an aggressive group of abuse-chanting skinheads. The landlord disappeared upstairs and returned with his large alsatian causing a rapid skinhead departure.
A copy of GEM (Gay East Midlands) from early in 1984 confirms that The Hole in the Wall, on North Sherwood Street was gay friendly, or at least someone thought it was or wanted it to be.
Were those thoughts or wishes realised? It certainly passed us by. Nevertheless, in 2015 it started to run lesbian pool nights.
For more/later venues, click HERE
The Roebuck (take your own flea spray) is long demolished. It was situated near to York House on Mansfield Road and was the principle rival to the Old Dog and Partridge (see below).
The Roebuck was managed by the formidable Maxine - whose partner ran off with a horse trainer from Cheltenham.
Part Two Club opened in 1981 and, for its first two years, was often described as the best gay club in the country. It was the inspiration of Ross Smith (seen on the right).
For fuller details of the "Part Two story" click HERE.