Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Johnny’s Country & Western Bar Ad – Nov. 1, 1956

Did you know that Downtown Lorain had a nightclub with a country and western theme in the late 1950s?

That’s right, Pardner. Johnny’s Country & Western Bar was located at 1040 Broadway. It was operated by Johnny Gay, one of Lorain’s more colorful tavern owners to say the least.

The Grand Opening ad for the business appeared in the Lorain Journal on November 1, 1956 – 59 years ago this month.

Interestingly, a small ad on the same page of the Journal that day for Hill Billy Bar at 1652 Broadway seemed to take aim at Johnny's. The ad pointed out that "We're the first & only "real" Hillbilly Bar in Lorain!"

Music for the Grand Opening of Johnny's was provided by Slim Luse, who had achieved some success in the music world. Various mentions of him in Billboard in the 40s and 50s state that he formerly worked with Pee Wee King, and that he had eventually found his way to Lorain County and employment at Radio Station WEOL.

Small snippet from Billboard of November 14, 1953
Anyway, I think the country music idea was ahead of its time, and might be a great idea for today’s Downtown Lorain.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t go shoot a ‘now’ photo of the bar, which was located roughly opposite Lorain Monument Works. It was lost when much of the west side of Broadway was leveled to make way for the Frank Nardini Underpass.


Rick Kurish said...

I don't remember this place, but I do remember another Country Western entertainment venue somewhat later. In the 1980s a Country Western entertainment establishment named "Riverbend", opened on the east side of Lorain in the old Andorka bowling alley. It was located on Bridge Street I believe. It was quite an enterprise, and included a large dance area, dining room, and piano bar as well as banquet facilities. While quite popular at inception, I think it lasted less than ten years --- I have no idea what is in the building now.

-Alan D Hopewell said...

Mr. Gay had more than one venue at that address, the last being the Pussycat Lounge in the '70's .