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Hotel Washington

Bars, wine, beer, cocktails, drunken escapades

Hotel Washington

Postby workboy7 » Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:34 pm

I miss that place, dating myself I guess. When I first moved to Madison, I lived blocks from there. Ethan Lund in the Barbers Closet, dancing in the gay dance club before I knew it was "gay" (a poster in the mens room let me know gaybashing was wrong, but thanks, guys, for all the free drinks!), seeing Alaniss Morisette and so many much better bands at club de wash, and that weird coke fueled night in the leather bar.....this town could use another "bar complex", like Nick Schaivo planned for the buy and sell building. Learn from the past, plan for the future.
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Re: Hotel Washington

Postby narcoleptish » Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:40 am

workboy7 wrote: dating myself I guess.


I did that for over a year once. It has it's advantages.


You can't hope to just recreate a place like that from the get-go. It grows over time. The old Buy/Sell could still evolve into something closer and better I believe. (better than it currently is) Taking half the Brink and making it into a few smaller places would be a step in the right direction.
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Re: Hotel Washington

Postby bassbari » Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:15 pm

I always wanted the old Going My Way (between Gennas and Tornado Club) on West Main St to reopen. Remember that football player what's his name, who wanted to open it as a club? It never happened. I have lived here since 1994 and the place has been vacant. I went there in 1977 (pre Hotel Wash because Rodney Scheel owned the Side Door on Park St by the viaduct at the time) when it was at its zenith. Three floors of heaven!
I loved Rods and the Barbers Closet. Sally used to cut my hair in the salon which was the entrance to the bar when it was a speakeasy during Prohibition. You would pull the barber strap and the secret door would open into the Barber's Closet bar. Best ice cream drinks in town.
Rods had good porn and I loved to watch the cute straight boys being dragged through the crowds and catch them glancing at the TVs.
Oh the good old days!
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Re: Hotel Washington

Postby roadkill bill » Wed Sep 02, 2009 11:47 pm

bassbari wrote:I went there in 1977 (pre Hotel Wash because Rodney Scheel owned the Side Door on Park St by the viaduct at the time) when it was at its zenith.


Ahem. The bar name was the BACK Door.

As an innocent straight kid, my gay friends pointed that name out to me, with a smirk, just to make me feel uncomfortable. Cheer to them all, wherever they are.
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Re: Hotel Washington

Postby bassbari » Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:45 am

Ah Yes! the Back Door. My mistake. It was really trashy but close to campus. I had just come out and Madison was a Mecca of gay bars. And you only had to be 18 back then Dane Co.
Rockford was 21 and only had one bar: The Office, which is still open. But Madison had many. The Pirate Ship on Fairchild. The Shamrock wasn't outed by the Madison Papers until sometime in the 1980s. (that is a story all its own) Several on East Wash. Where did gay people socialize before the 1960s. Campus must have had some outlet especially with all the Frat house hazing that went on.
Any thoughts?
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Re: Hotel Washington

Postby Logjam » Fri Sep 04, 2009 7:21 am

bassbari wrote:I always wanted the old Going My Way (between Gennas and Tornado Club) on West Main St to reopen. Remember that football player what's his name, who wanted to open it as a club? It never happened.


That space was open for about a year as Que Sera, maybe around 2000? Ron Dayne was talking about opening a restaurant/club there but I think one of his investors was shady and there may have been problems with the liquor license or financing, I can't remember.

Its a cool space and if done properly would be a great addition to that block.
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Re: Hotel Washington

Postby green union terrace chair » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:18 pm

Logjam wrote:
bassbari wrote:I always wanted the old Going My Way (between Gennas and Tornado Club) on West Main St to reopen. Remember that football player what's his name, who wanted to open it as a club? It never happened.


That space was open for about a year as Que Sera, maybe around 2000? Ron Dayne was talking about opening a restaurant/club there but I think one of his investors was shady and there may have been problems with the liquor license or financing, I can't remember.

Its a cool space and if done properly would be a great addition to that block.


I think it's been at least 15 years since Que Sera closed.

I hear the tables are all still set with dishes and silverware, albeit under a thick layer of dust.
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Re: Hotel Washington

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:25 pm

There was at least one other secret door in the Hotel Washington. A friend of mine with involved with the construction and when a band got boring at the Club de Wash, he showed me a nearby utility closet that had an exit door leading the the picnic table and volleyball court in the interior courtyard.

Ms Vilas and I like to eat late at the Cafe Palms and try to guess the gender of the androgyous patrons at nearby tables. We called it the he or she? game. Another good friend was one of the last cooks at the Palms. He made a great crawfish étoufée with a reduction sauce instead of using a tomato paste for a short cut.

I too miss the Hotel Wash.
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Re: Hotel Washington

Postby jjoyce » Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:30 pm

I seem to remember that there was a door right in the back of the CdW's stage for loading in/out. I helped a friend's band on and off that stage once and discovered that it led to a stairway and out the same door that was the entrance to Rod's. As a college junior who thought he knew a lot more than he did, I'm sure it was amusing to observe me discovering that the trannies hanging around back there were looking for a light, and nothing else, from me.
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Re: Hotel Washington

Postby IrisTramm » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:45 pm

Reviving an ancient thread. Sorry.

I was at the New Bar and Cafe Palms the night before the fire. Hours before the fire, actually. I think they threw us out around 3AM.

Reviving the thread, because a recent cleaning of an old storage unit disclosed a raft of original photos of the fire (I lived blocks away at the time; we hadn't even gone to sleep yet when we heard and raced back down) which are pretty cool. I did one printing at the Memorial Union's darkroom and they turned out really well, as well as an original Barber's Closet menu and a Cafe Palms 10 percent discount card.

Does anyone collect this stuff? I don't want to sell it but, rather, donate it to some entity that is interested in archiving the history of the building, particularly its role in the local LGBT community. I dunno. Maybe such things don't exist. For me, I spent most of my college years there with my gay friends. I still can't get gas at that place that's there now without seeing the steps of the old hotel. It was a very meaningful and innovative space for those of us who experienced it at its height.

And I would sell a kidney to have a genuine Barber's Closet Blind Russian again.
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Re: Hotel Washington

Postby gargantua » Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:12 pm

It's possible the Wisconsin Historical Society would have an interest. And maybe some local news organization, like Isthmus, might be interesting in publishing some of the photos. I would think there would be a lot of public (well, among us older public) interest in seeing them.
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Re: Hotel Washington

Postby snoqueen » Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:00 pm

State Historical Society - - I second it.

They have a nice photo archive on line and to have your photos in it so anyone could see for them would be totally appropriate.

I've got photos from the morning after the fire somewhere too. A lot of people went down there that day. I remember it was freezing cold and there were icicles all over the remains of the building so it was even more morbidly photogenic.
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