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3400 Complex on South Orange Blossom Trail 3400 Complex on South Orange Blossom Trail

Businesses of the Past

Do you remember the names of all the businesses and bars that have come and gone?  Every few months the subject comes up and all of us old timers have to beat our brains to remember. Some were icons, some were way before their time, some were visionaries, and some were just a flash in the pan.  We've compiled this list from memory, and from advertisements and listings in gay publications that date back to the seventies.

3400 Complex
3400 S Orange Blossom Trail
Home of many bars, clubs, and a bath house.
City Bath Club, New Image Fitness Center, City Lights, Loading Dock, Orlando Eagle, Cell Block M, Video Express, J.W's, Palace Club, Sapphos Eagles Nest, Galleria, and Bunz all called this home.

4910 Edgewater Drive
This location has been a gay bar for a long long time and so it has had many names associated with its location. To make matters worse, we were told that it once had two entrances and on occasion, multiple names at the same time. First it was Palace Club, Odds & Ends, Circle J's, End Zone (1979)then Face to Face (Then finally to become Faces).

3000 Club
3000 N. Orange Avenue
Near Florida Hospital

Absolute Leather
3400 S Orange Blossom Trail, Mills Avenue, W Colonial Drive
Jim Heimlick ran this leather store that went out of business after its 3rd and final move.

60 North Orange Avenue
Don't know much about this one. The location was next to the Beachum Theater.

Big Bang
102 N. Orange Avenue
Oh, this was a really cool place that opened in 1989 that was owned by Sam Singhaus.

857 E. Semoran
Wilshire Plaza bar popular after Gay Skate and Gay bowling. It was owned by Bill Lasek.

Cactus Room
121 N Bumby
It is now the location of very straight Lou's Lounge.

City Bath Club
1877 S. Orange Blossom Trail
Shell of this building is still standing. Once owned by Mike Hodge and Bill Miller of Parliament House fame. In 1982, it moved to 3400 S Orange Blossom Trail and was later named New Image Fitness Center.

4716 S. Orange Avenue
Famous or infamous for its lockdown party on Tuesday nights. Closed shortly after an MBI raid. May have also been the location of the Kodiak Lounge.

Cave, Connections
1517 N. Orange Blossom Trail
Right on the rail road track. Building now houses a temporary work agency.

Central Florida's first gay computer bulletin board.

Diamond Head Lounge
134 S Magnolia, 2nd Floor
Owned by Bill Miller and Mike Hodge before they purchased the Parliament House Motor Inn

4910 Edgewater Drive
Longest operating lesbian bar until it closed.

Flamingo Lounge, Phoenix, New Phoenix
7124 Aloma
This strip mall still has a gay lounge, but the name has changed many times.

Frogg's Restaurant
2918 N Orange Avenue
Another business we found by way of ads in a 1983 GLBT publication. Current location houses Athenian Garden (may have been recently razed).

Games Lounge
1811 State Road 434
Next to Reflections restaurant that lasted just a few months.

Hank's (The Original)
2825 N Orange Blossom Trail
Long before its current location on Edgewater Drive. A McDonald's is now located on the site of this famous hangout.

Key Largo
6900 N Orange Blossom Trail
This huge lesbian complex was once a straight country western redneck bar. Burnt down and was never resurrected.

Kulture Klub
5101 E Colonial Drive
This one has me stumped. I don't remember it. That address is the location of Straub's Seafood/Oblivion Tap Room. It was advertised in a 1985 publication.

Last Spot
4908 Edgewater Drive
We found a listing for this bar in a 1978 David Magazine. We think it may have been a bar that shared the building with Odds & Ends.

Lazy Pig
3421 Orange Avenue
Part eatery, part lounge, that was popular with women. Charlene's Cafe occupies the space currently.

Leather Closet
498 N. Orange Blossom Trail
After it closed, Twisted Palms moved to the location in the Carolina Moon Court. It was demolished to make way for The Gardens in 2003.

832 N. Mills
Great little sandwich shop. Now home to Taco Cheno

Michaels of Florida
410 N Orange Blossom Trail
Clothing store at the Parliament House. Now the location of the Western bar.

Orange Avenue
Was in the former Jaymont Plaza next door to the Terror on Church Street attraction. It was demolished to make room for the Plaza office and entertainment towers.

Murphy Jim's
249 West SR 436
Orlando's first gay stand alone restaurant located in Altamonte Springs owned by Michael Murphy.

Mister Sisters
5310 E Colonial Dr
Located for a short while on the shores of Lake Barton, this night club included a large outdoor patio, dance floor, and restaurant.

Palace Club
1000 Humphries
It was just over the fence from the old Naval Training Center (now Baldwin Park) It was the original late night bottle club. It opened as the Palace Club (1977-1978) after moving from 4910 Edgewater Drive, then became the Nightowl (1979-1980) and finally changed to Soundstage 1000 (1981).

Noches De Lion
921 Mills Avenue
An upscale restaurant and late night RAVE club. The had a pretty good brunch. Was the former location of gay friendly Mack Meiners Country Store.

Out & About Books
930 N. Mills
Bruce Ground was the owner of Orlando's first gay and lesbian book store.

Old Plantation
140 Fernwood Boulevard
Former Victoria Station across from the Jai Alai fronton. Opened in 1980.
Changed names a few times afterward. Central Station (1988), Boxcars, and then Fern Park Station.

Orlando Flowers
1916 Corrine Drive
Richard Godbold (Miss G) and Orlando Flowers was a staple at the Central Florida Fair every year. It was purchased by Richard Veblen when Miss G retired. It closed a year later after Rick's untimely death.

Paradise Cafe
2417 E. South Street
In the strip center around from Southern Nights.

Park Avenue
4315 N. Orange Blossom Trail
David "Ma" Bell started the first Tea Dance at this high end straight disco with his "Sunday Club" in 1980 on the banks of Lake Fairview.

Port Au Prince, Queen of Hearts
912 West Colonial Drive
Was once a Sizzler steak house, then became a pawn shop. Was razed an replaced with a Dollar Family store in 2013.

Rainbow City
936 Mills Avenue
When the rainbow was in fashion, and before the internet put most specialty retailers out of business, this store owned by the late Peter Thornley was the place to buy your gay and lesbian paraphernalia.

Ruby Slipper
664 South Highway 17-92
If you remember this bar, give yourself a gay STAR!

Sadie's Tavern
Owned by Judy Shaw.

Savage Connection
1124 S. Orange Avenue
Opened in 1978. Served sandwiches and fondues. Randy Smith was a bartender there.
An empty bank now sits on the site next to Orlando Regional Healthcare Center.

Score Game Room
North Gate Plaza
We found a small ad for this establishment in a publication from 1979. We think it really was a game room (you know, pinball and PacMan).

Secrets, Club Quest
745 Bennett Road
This place was a real secret!

Sherri's (Formerly Bierboard)
912 N. Mills
I'm not kidding. Yes it was there. Now the Funky Monkey.

Silver Hammer, Cactus Club, Club Swank (Straight), Studz, Paradise
1300 N. Mills Ave
Ownned by Jim Nuss, then Richard Behr before it became Cactus Club, it was the home of this leaky roofed men's club. Now home of St Matthew's Tavern.

San Juan /Grand Central Hotel
55 N Orange Avenue
Fire closed it down in 1979 and it was demolished in 1981. Was at the corner of Orange and Central adjoining the Beacham Theater. The original hotel was the San Juan, it became known as the Grand Central (in 1978) when it was opened as a gay resort.

Studio 441
2922 S. Orange Blossom Trail
Was a limited engagement bar in the former restaurant of the Days Inn at I-4 in 1980.

Some Place Else
Fairbanks Avenue
Popular after bowling. Raccine Robbins was the drag hostess.

Tracks Orlando
843 Lee Road
Currently the home of Wild Rice buffet.

3700 S. Orange Blossom Trail
Was located inside an old convenience store that was replaced by the now defunct Denny's. After it closed, it housed Cell Block M for a short period before it relocated to 3400 S Orange Blossom Trail.

Twisted Palms
1321 Mills, 1310 Mills, W. Colonial Drive, 498 S. Orange Blossom Trail, 410 S Orange Blossom Trail. This clothing store has made the rounds. Now exists as Twisted Tom's at the Parliament House until it closed in 2012.

Union Cafe
337 N. Shine
Thornton Park's first gay eating and drinking establishment. Now home to Maxine's on Shine.

Uncle Walt's
5454 International Drive
The first and only gay establishment on the main tourist drag.

3557 S. Orange Avenue
Had several previous lives starting at 3400 S. Orange Blossom Trail and then moving across the street to 3535 S. Orange Blossom Trail. Closed in 2012.


Zodiac Lounge
1654 Ridgewood Avenue

952 Orange Avenue


Last Moving Picture Company
116 S Kentucky
Owned by Bill Miller and Mike Hodge. Closed in 1982.

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Last modified onTuesday, 22 September 2015 10:05
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