Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gene's Music Bar

Looking North on Akard St. from Wood.   Adolphus Hotel in background.   Color by Leonard Raef
Gene's Music Bar opened about 1955 or 56 and was located at 307-09 S. Akard, just a few blocks up from the Adolphus Hotel. In the 1950s & early 60s this was considered the "fun" side of town. There were pool halls, drinking places, and strip joints; and nearby hotels like the Baker featured exotic dancers in the nightclub and live music. Gene's was known to be a longtime gay hangout was sometimes targeted by the vice squad. In 1958 it was also the proud owner of "the Southwest's first and only stereophonic music system."

Owner Walter Lawrence, who also ran The Lasso Bar, the Jungle Hut Lounge, and the Golden Steer #2, all on Akard, was questioned by the Warren Commission as part of the investigation of the Kennedy assassination.  Lawrence was acquainted with Jack Ruby, and because Ruby had been seen walking some dogs in the vicinity of the club, the Commission seemed to think he could verify for them that Ruby was an active homosexual. Good fodder for conspiracy theorists, I reckon.
After the Baker Hotel was demolished in 1980, the old "fun" part of Dallas eventually disappeared, and Akard became a narrow tree-lined driveway for ATT Plaza.


  1. Oh that is very disappointing to hear that such an old bar has been closed. My father had told me about his visit to this bar. He really liked visiting this bar when he as in Dallas.

  2. Mid 1970's, I got taken on a ride by two young men (I was 17 and naive) who said they would give me a ride home. I ended up on a dark highway, raped at gunpoint (yes I am male and no I did not enjoy it) stripped of my clothing and stabbed with a hunting knife. I managed to escape the car naked and all or I would be dead. The two perps were never brought to justice. I never went to Gene's again. Some nice folks but it had a dark, seedy side. No fond memories for me there. I was glad when the damn place closed.

    1. with the current, frequent night time attacks on the gay community in oaklawn, just goes to show things haven't changed much. any other part of town the perpetrators would have been caught. as usual in Dallas though, crimes against the lgtb community are swept under the rug by law enforcement and perpetrators are given slap on the wrist sentences by the courts.

  3. In the mid to late 1970's i use to go to both Gene's and the Lasso in Drag with friends, Both very very sleazy and much fun, im 63 now. i have many fond memories of the clubs, like when the Southern Baptists would have their conventions, we would taunt them as the walked by the Clubs. Sometimes i miss the old days. but all good and bad things must come to an end.

  4. My grandfather Gene owned those clubs. Nice article, thanks.