THE RADIO CITY LOUNGE, UTAH'S OLDEST GAY BAR
Salt Lake City's Radio City Lounge was known as the oldest gay bar west of the Mississippi.
In the first decade after it opened in 1948, most of Radio City's gay and straight clientele (as well as the bar's moniker) came from the radio and TV stations headquartered along Social Hall Avenue, just north of the building's address at 147 S. State.
By the late 1950s, an evolution had begun.
"It was a straight bar during the day, then at 7, the gay community started coming in," says Rose Carrier, who started pouring pints at Radio City in 1960. She had been working at another bar when owners Elvin Gerrard and Lee Caputo — both straight — offered her a job at Radio City, her first exposure to people many at the time considered deviant, even mentally ill.
"I started serving them, and I thought, These are really great people," says Carrier. "I felt the love from them."
During the day, gay customers began coming into the bar — where Carrier would greet them with a kiss on a cheek — which the bar's straight customers thought "was terrible," Carrier says. "They stopped coming in at all."
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