40 Vintage Postcards Capture People at Bars and Nightclubs in the Mid-20th Century_top1

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