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January 17, 2023

40 Vintage Postcards Capture People at Bars and Nightclubs in the Mid-20th Century

Establishments providing drinks and entertainment have existed in many forms throughout history and across cultures. The beginnings of the nightclub as we know it emerged in the 19th century with saloons and bars of Western industrial nations. By the early 20th century, nightclubs were becoming increasingly popular and began incorporating larger acts such as burlesque dance routines, magic shows, musical performances and other forms of live entertainment.

In the United States, this came to a halt to a certain extent with the era of Prohibition. It was during the Prohibition era that jazz developed as a popular musical form. It had been accepted in mainstream culture by the time Prohibition ended in the 1930s, and the swing/big band era began. This period lasted until the early 1950s, when rock and roll began to take center stage.

In the post-World War II social environment, Americans were increasingly able to partake in more leisurely activities, especially teen youths, who really came into their own as a cultural force in the 1950s. The music was an expansion of the jazz and swing eras, adding more energetic movements and less-subtle sexuality.

The nightclubs of this time began offering music as the primary form of entertainment, focusing on emerging acts in rhythm and blues, blues, and rock and roll. This was the transition between nightclubs as venues for a variety of entertainment to today’s clubs, which cater more exclusively to music, dancing, drinking and mating.

Here below is a set of vintage postcards that shows what the inside of bars and nightclubs in the United States looked like in the mid-20th century.

Arizona. Safari Hotel, Scottsdale

Arizona. Royal Road's Victorian Room, Cocktail Bar, Nogales

Arizona. Superstition Inn, Apache Junction

Arizona. Wahweap Lodge, Page

California. Brookdale Lodge Burl Room Rustic Cocktail Lounge, Santa Cruz County

California. Cirque Room Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco

California. Crown Room Cocktail Lounge, Fairmont Hotel and Towers, San Francisco

California. El Cortez Hotel Starlite Roof, San Diego

California. Mermaid Room Cocktail Lounge, Fresno Hacienda

California. Sierra Room, Nicely's Restaurant, Lee Vining

California. Tonga at the Fairmont, San Francisco

Florida. Blue Horizon Cocktail Lounge and Restaurant on the ocean at 89th Street, Miami Beach

Florida. Bob Darch Bonanza Room, Escape Hotel, Ft Lauderdale

Florida. Castaways Wreck Bar on the ocean at 163rd Street, Miami Beach

Florida. Castaways Wreck Bar on the ocean at 163rd Street, Miami Beach

Florida. Club Wally Musical Bar and Night Club, Miami

Florida. Gold Room Ridgewood Hotel, Daytona Beach

Florida. Kon Tiki Bar in Harris' Imperial Lounge, Pompano Beach

Florida. Rum House, Galt Ocean Mile Hotel, Fort Lauderdale

Florida. Starlight Room, Belleview-Biltmore, Belleair

Florida. Sun Castle Club and Motor Hotel, Pompano Beach

Florida. The Everglades Roof 18 stories above Miami

Illinois. Coq d'Or Cocktail Lounge, Drake Hotel, Chicago

Illinois. Stouffer's Top of the Rock Prudential Building, Chicago

Maine. Eastland Motor Hotel, Portland

Massachusetts. Avaloch Five Reasons Steak and Ale House, Lenox

Massachusetts. Harborside Inn, Martha's Vineyard

Massachusetts. Merry-Go-Round Lounge, Sheraton-Plaza Hotel, Boston

Michigan. Devon Gables Starlit Cocktail Lounge, Bloomfield

Nevada. Top O' The Strip, Dunes Hotel, Las Vegas

New Hampshire. Eastern Slope Inn, North Conway

New York. Nevele Country Club Mardi Gras at the Safari Lounge, Ellenville

New York. Purple Tree Lounge, Manager Hotel, Rochester

New York. Purple Tree Manger Vanderbilt Hotel

Pennsylvania. Gaslight Lounge Fernwood in the Pocono Mountains, Bushkill

Pennsylvania. Mount Airy Lodge, Club Suzanne, Mount Pocono

Pennsylvania. Rock Lodge, Bavarian Room, Lake Harmony

Washington DC. Manager Annapolis Hotel

Washington DC. Manger Hamilton Hotel Cocktail Lounge

Wyoming. Stockade Room, Jackson Lake Lodge, Teton National Park, Moran


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