Monday, March 23, 2015

Acme Bar

Acme Bar, San Antonio, Texas
Acme Bar

Location: San Antonio, Texas, USA

Opened/Closed: c. 1961

I found out about the Acme Bar in an interview with Marie Cartier, who published a book called Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall. The photo (right) is also from that article.

Unfortunately, the interview says very little about the Acme, other than it was a lesbian bar. We're told that one of the women in the photo was named Carolyn Weathers, though it is not specified which one. Nor is there much explanation, at least in the interview, as to why the Acme was featured on the cover of the book or why the Acme has any particular significance, if any.

Tried googling, and came up with this first-person account called Nuevo Laredo,1961. Notice that in this story, the Acme Bar is referred to as a "gay bar." Nevertheless, it is a very lesbian-focused story. I have reproduced three paragraphs of it here, but I urge you to read it in its entirety.
My sister, Brenda, was lovers with Anita Ornelas.  Today, we would say partners, but in 1961 it was lovers.  Anita was a WAC at Ft. Sam Houston, and when she wasn’t at the barracks or the beery WAC Shack, lived with Brenda at her apartment on Army Boulevard. Terry and I had seat-of-the-pants jobs, and we were kind of seeing each other.
"She's sweet, just like you, Carolyn," Brenda and Anita would tell me, "good for you", trying to propel me away from the paregoric-snorting Adrienne, whom I was also attracted to, like a moth to bad flames.  Not just Adrienne.  The paregoric.
On Friday nights in San Antonio, all the gay people in town partied at the Acme Bar.  Saturday mornings everyone came over to Brenda and Anita's for Bloody Marys, hashbrowns, bacon and eggs, menudo laced with Brenda and Anita's homemade killer hot sauce, and gallons of coffee so strong it could march over and jump into your cup.

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