Ziegfeld's


Ziegfeld's

"Ziegfeld's/Secrets" was a dual bar located at 1345 Half Street SE in Washington, D.C. It is one of the oldest and most respected drag bars in the world.

The bar was circular and divided by a wall with a bar in the middle and doors on either side.

The Ziegfeld's side of the venue featured a large stage adorned on either side by a giant silver high heeled shoe. Each weekend on Friday and Saturday drag queen Ella Fitzgerald (nee Donnell Robinson [ Sean Bugg, "The Last Inning," "Metro Weekly," April 14, 2005 ] ), who has worked at the venue for nearly 20 years, hosted her "Ladies of Illusion" for two performances a night (one on Sundays.) The shows lasted approximately an hour and feature five drag queens doing a variety of performances for packed crowds.

On the Secrets side of the venue there were fully nude male dancers (catering to a mostly gay male crowd.) It was one of the few venues in the United States where male strippers are allowed to dance fully nude.

The bar was considered an important landmark in gay culture for the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. In 2006 it the property was seized by the District of Columbia via eminent domain and torn down (along with a chain of gay-oriented businesses) to make room for Nationals Park, a new baseball stadium. [ Hank Stuever, "Ballpark Blues," "The Washington Post," April 4, 2006]

This was met with outrage and disappointment by the gay community of D.C. The venue's website has stated since demolition that it will be opening in a new venue soon. Moving to a new location will not be easy. Under District law, businesses with a liquor license that permits nude dancing can only relocate within their current zoning district or in a central business district. The new location also has restrictions on proximity to residences, churches, and schools.

Ziegfeld's/Secrets is currently planning to re-open at 1824 Half St., SW [Lou Chibbaro Jr., "D.C. police chief will not oppose relocation of club," "Washington Blade" April 3, 2008,] , Washington, DC which is near its former location. The transfer of its liquor license to the new location was approved. [ Lou Chibbaro Jr., "Ziegfeld’s/Secrets cleared for license in new location," "Washington Blade" May 16, 2008]

References

External links

* [http://www.ziegfelds.com Ziegfeld's Web site]
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/03/AR2006040301976_pf.html "Ballpark Blues" article in "The Washington Post"]


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