Wednesday, July 27, 2011


1959 wedding at Jimmy White's


Location: Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, Florida, USA

Opened: early 1970s?

Closed: late 1970s?

Mcfilmfest is a is a great site for reminiscing about lost gay and lesbian bars in central Florida. 

According to Mcfilmfest, Jimmy White's, a gay bar, originally started at what later became Cucojo's location in the late 1950s. After Cucojo's reign as a lesbian bar, the space became The Old Plantation and then The Village Station. The Village Station apparently died sometime in the 1980s.

Pat the Plumber, also at Mcfilmfest, recalls the following:

When I moved to Tampa from Cleveland in 1975, Jimmy White’s had become “Cucojo’s” It was quite large with an accommodating dance floor and stage, complemented by paintings and posters on the walls of intriguing, cavernous hallways.

After drumming and before plumbing, my first job in Tampa was as a barmaid at the Sheraton Inn downtown. When I got off work at 1:00 a.m., Cucojo’s was my oasis after a night of artificial heterosexual hyperbolic conversation. Week nights were quiet and thus became my “safe place” where I met Zelda D., who worked at the Springs Movie Theatre until 1:00 a.m. also. Zelda would read and write poetry right there at the bar. It was through my friendship with Zelda that I met Diana Estorino who published Network News, a Tampa lesbian newsletter in the 80’s, and who produced wonderful New Year’s Eve parties for us at the Armory.

Week night regulars at Cucojo’s were literally the salt of the earth - working class gay people with socially prohibitive evenings because of their work hours, finding friendship and acceptance at this bar owned by Mama Dee. Mama Dee celebrated holidays and special occasions with memorable galas. Her partner, Mama Pat, went all out on St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish feast and personally pouring a shot of Irish whiskey for everyone and bestowing a kiss from a “real Irish Mother.” Mama Pat continued that personal touch when she operated the Carousel Lounge.

We were greeted at the door at Cucojo’s by “Big Lu,” the quintessential butch of her time, and served our respective libation by Dolly, who tended that long, long, bar with her scooting stool, and compensated her height with a beaming smile.

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