Rialto Tap

14 W Van Buren St

The Rialto Tap was a lively Black, gay pick-up bar which became a house music hot spot. Around 1979, Willie Watson DJed there, in addition to providing the sound system for the Rialto and Martin’s Den. The bar’s other DJs included George Alexander and Nick Lewis. Music started at 6 PM and lasted until 4 AM. According to Michael Ezebukwu, who DJ’d there in the late 19890s, DJs, who performed back near the liquor, would play a little of everything at the very wooden, traditional-looking bar. Rialto was raided by police December 28, 1979, after an undercover officer claimed a customer propositioned him. The bar was torn down in 1990 to make way for the city’s new main library.

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