Dugan’s Bistro (The Bistro)

420 North Dearborn Ave

One of the first mainstream Chicago dance clubs to feature live DJs, such as Disco DAI’s Lou DiVito. Owned by Eddie Dugan, with design by Ron Veltmann, the club became known for having high-quality sound and lights, and for playing seamlessly mixed disco music on its large dance floor. With lounge spaces and “theatrical” dancers, The Bistro was often “the place” for visiting rock stars and celebrities who came to town. While The Bistro is remembered fondly by some, it is also remembered for having racist door policies that restricted access for people of color as well as for being picketed by the Committee of Black Gay Men in August of 1980.



Sneaking into The Bistro

When he was a teenager, Duane Powell and his friends used to go to The Bistro for Thursday dollar drinks night. A lot of times the venue's bouncer wouldn't card him, but when they did, Powell and co would go around back and climb into the club using the fire escape. Powell remembers the first time he snuck in he was wearing an outfit covered in large polka dots, including a big polka dot wrap hood. He spent the whole night nervous that he would be caught with his conspicuous outfit.

1 Related Artists