Newspaper article News Sentinel. New Year's Eve of saw the closing of what was quite possibly Knoxville's longest-running nightspot. But for many of the Carousel II's patrons and employees -- both current and former -- the night of Sunday, Dec. For it was on that night that the city's iconic gay bar hosted the "Farewell to Tribute Show," so named for the Carousel's address at White Ave. And with that, the impossibly long and lean performer with her towering hair and slim black pantsuit launches into a lip-sync version of Janet Jackson's "Control" -- dancing, mugging, flirting, accepting both homage and tips from audience members with supple grace.
Today Colony is the site of the power sub-station beside Carousel gay tn State St Garage. The building recently went on the market. Located across the street from the former Regas Restaurant, Submissive vows Club operated for a short time before closing down and reopening as The Peppertree. If you walk up to someone in Knoxville and ask where the nearest gay bar is they may only be able to name one or two different options. But for many of the Carousel II's patrons and employees -- Carousel gay tn current and former -- the night of Sunday, Dec.
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If you walk up to someone in Knoxville and ask where the nearest gay bar is they may only be able to name one or two different options.
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- Newspaper article News Sentinel.
- At night, the carousel ballroom is transformed into an elegant and bright venue for galas, weddings, fundraising events, bridal showers, and even birthday parties!
If you walk up to someone in Knoxville and ask where the nearest gay bar is they may only be able to name one or two different options. These places are a part of a very large collection of Gay and Lesbian Bars to have existed in Knoxville over the last half century. The history of Knoxville Gay bars is fading and will be incomplete as it is written today.
I hope to continue to add to this material in the future. If you have a positive story to share, please write something in the comments. These posters were passed down to various Pride organizations over the years until they were recently donated to the East Tennessee Historical Society for preservation.
It is unclear whether this was an exclusively LGBT bar or if it was one of a handful of bars throughout the city that were open minded and friendly to the local gay community. For the Knoxville gay community, the Back Office was one of first large scale gay nightclubs for dancing and socializing. Amazingly, this building has survived the expansion of UT into this portion of Ft. According to the Pride history posters, the bar was burned down by angry neighbors.
Today the site is a field located behind Kopy Kat Printing and across the street from Redemption Church. After Carousel 2 opened up in the Ft. Today Colony is the site of the power sub-station beside the State St Garage. Traditions — Traditions is one of the only gay bars on this list to be located in Market Square. I found it particularly cute that the text on the poster felt it was important to mention that the bartender at Circle J was very popular locally and he was from Clarksville, TN my hometown before moving to Knoxville.
Located across the street from the former Regas Restaurant, Badlands Club operated for a short time before closing down and reopening as The Peppertree. Sensations operated for a few years and then was damaged by a fire and had to shut down. Rainbow Club — The Rainbow Club was originally located in the Old City off South Central Street and was two buildings joined together to provide a lounge area and a dedicated Drag performance area.
The New Rainbow Club West operated recently enough that many people will probably remember seeing a fabulous drag show there or dancing on the dance floor between shows. This was the first gay bar I ever went to in my life. One person described The Point After as a welcoming bar to all people, so long as you were kind in return. I was told that the owner of this bar was a very no-nonsense woman who was not afraid to chase drunk frat boys down the street if needed. Located at the back end of St.
The two bars operated simultaneously for a while and one person I interviewed said it was common to walk between the two. Eventually the bar closed, remained vacant for many years and was demolished for a soccer pitch.
Trumps was a bar that embraced its established gay following with popular drag shows and theme nights. Bourbon Street boasted a nice outdoor area with a good brunch on Sundays. Much like everything else in this area of Alcoa Hwy, the Chrome Pony suffered from the continual road construction and the decline of retail surrounding it. The young crowd and dance environment made this otherwise straight bar a gay friendly establishment to go dancing with friends, especially on gay-themed nights.
Electric Ballroom, currently called The International, recently announced it is closing. Kandy Knox — Kandy Knox is the only legitimate gay bar to be located on Chapman Highway that makes this list. The retail complex that housed Kandy Knox had also had a handful of other bars that in previous years had been raided by the police and shut down due to ongoing violence.
Lord Lindsey hosted weekly dinners and parties that became quite popular and the building became a dance club in the latter half of the week. The crowd on a typical weekend was mixed gay and straight but always friendly according to my interviews. The event was named after the address of the bar, Hill Ave, and also after the time the festivities began.
It was recently purchased and will be redeveloped. People I spoke with said that Huddle was a popular place to go for a cheap drink before going to nearby bars like Europa or Colony. Huddle closed in and the space is now a private event space. A person I spoke with said that this bar was one of the first instances in Knoxville of a gay bar frequented by straight people for the novelty of the space and environment.
The bar, located on the back side of an old building on the Block of Gay street, was owned by a well-known Knoxville hair dresser named Joseph Weir. Tragically, Europa was shut down at the end of following the murder of Joseph Weir. The murder remains an unsolved cold case. Riverview Tower occupies the spot where Europa once stood. Club Exile did not last particularly long and was eventually closed down, remodeled, and then reopened as Kristtophers.
Kristtophers always had the best local beer selection and the food was amazing. Unfortunately, Kristtophers recently closed due to an issue with the building lease. I really enjoyed Kristtophers and would gladly patronize any future effort by these women. Current Photograph of the Carousel 2 Location. The Carousel was an institution in the gay community for decades.
If you were a gay man or an ally living in Knoxville the last 30 years then there is a very good chance you saw at least one drag show in the upstairs show bar. The building had a dedicated dance floor and a dedicated area for drag shows, something still difficult to find in gay bars in major cities even today. Beer bust was legendary, along with the hangovers they produced; paying only 7 dollars for a cup and wrist band to have unlimited beer for a set amount of time. Sadly, Carousel suffered a fate similar to many other landmarks in the Ft.
Sanders neighborhood; being purchased for development in The building recently went on the market. Carousel 3, anyone? And so, I end this very long compilation of Knoxville LGBT bars; I hope you found it enjoyable and will contribute to or edit this list by commenting below. Colony was not in existence when Carousel II came into being. Europa closed to make room for what was called Jake Butcher Building.
Joseph was still alive. Original Carousel was still in operation then. Joseph Weir leased them his sound system since his club The Europa had closed. This is when the original Carousel went out of business. You may read my comments on my facebook page.
Thank you. I found this to be enjoyable to read. Omg YES. If I could only go out dancing one night in a given week, hands down it was to The Closet.
All my friends and I left at the last possible moment drenched in sweat and with great stories to tell. The creative energy those Thursday nights generated inspired us all to pursue whatever avant-garde outfit or costume our pre-WiFi minds could conjure. Or not. Casual was also acceptable. Electrifying is the word that comes to my mind when I flip through the velvet-flocked of course photo album of those nights we took with our disposable Fuji cameras or our digital Canons that held maybe 20 pictures.
I hope someone creates a page to gather photos, stories, and the history of some of these places that were an escape in the 90s Mercury Theater, anyone? The building Pretentious is located in for example. Very good stuff, thanks for doing the research! I believe the author has the dates wrong. The Huddle tavern is first listed in the Knoxville City Directory in In , the name was changed at least in the City Directory to the Southern Tavern.
By the edition it was back to The Huddle. The Knoxville phone directories provide a similar story. The first listing for The Huddle was in the October phonebook. There had been an earlier short-lived eating house named The Huddle circa at Cumberland Avenue, but it seems to have had no relationship to The Huddle tavern. Sorry about that. I plan on going through the city directory to refine the dates for all of the bars mentioned here today. Interestingly, while the city directory mentions the dates of Huddle appearing in , Cormac McCarthys book Suttree references the bar at this location in the year I assume that is just for reference and not a real date now?
Thanks for commenting! Knoxville News-Sentinel, 12 March , p. Hatmaker as its operator. Ernest L. Hatmaker appears to have acquired an interest in the tavern in or Thank you for writing this important piece! I think for those of us who love the local LGBT community, having the people, the places, the organizations, and the icons documented and recognized is soooo affirming and appreciated. This work is critical for so many reasons.
Knoxville and East TN have a rich history that deserves to be told. Anyone working with this population will tell you that we are bombarded by phone calls from youth being kicked out of homes after coming out to unaccepting family members.
I completely agree Rebecca! When I started gathering all the information for these articles I was blown away with the volume and depth of all the topics I was interested in sharing. Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
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Bars, Clubs. Carousel II White Ave. All rights reserved. There is tons of wildlife including 21 acres of wetlands in Renaissance Park. The area is also home to the Chattanooga Theater Center. One of the hippest areas of North Chattanooga is Hill City which is made up of winding roads that are home to beautifully preserved forties style bungalows.
Closer to the river are larger mansions on big lots. The area starts just south of 12 th Street and extends down to 20 th Street and is the focus of a great deal of money and attention. There are many charming subdivisions in the area including Cowart Place, Fort Negley and Jefferson Heights that are just north of the downtown.
The area also has a stadium and a skate park and a daily market at the First Tennessee Pavilion.
Newspaper article News Sentinel. New Year's Eve of saw the closing of what was quite possibly Knoxville's longest-running nightspot. But for many of the Carousel II's patrons and employees -- both current and former -- the night of Sunday, Dec.
For it was on that night that the city's iconic gay bar hosted the "Farewell to Tribute Show," so named for the Carousel's address at White Ave. And with that, the impossibly long and lean performer with her towering hair and slim black pantsuit launches into a lip-sync version of Janet Jackson's "Control" -- dancing, mugging, flirting, accepting both homage and tips from audience members with supple grace.
And it will prove to be a night to remember. It signifies the end of an era and the loss of a familiar and beloved refuge. But that's how it works. But it never lost its meaning. I never outgrew my love for that place and what it meant to me. And though owner Hazel Belew and many employees would like to find a new home for the establishment -- its closing was forced by the sale of the building -- the people who love the place have girded themselves for a future that doesn't include Carousell II.
No one is quite certain when the Carousel "officially" came into being. Belew acquired the place from its original owner in , and she believes it had been a going concern for 12 years prior, though not always as a gay club. For her part, Belew took over the bar in large part due to financial obligations on the part of the previous owner. A nightclub neophyte, she was in over her head, perhaps, but she also had strong opinions about her new venture. I don't think that's right. Everyone has the right to live the way they want to live.
I guess sometimes you have to fight for what you believe. After Belew took over, she closed the establishment briefly, for tax purposes. But she also began renovating the space, adding new lights and furnishings and a sunken dance floor. But in the s and '80s, being gay was harder still. But there was fear for your life in those days.
You took your life in your hands when you walked toward that building. Nutter says he was mugged twice entering or leaving the Carousel - - once at gunpoint, once at knifepoint -- with both incidents taking place within 50 feet of the club. An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.