There weren’t a lot of ads for nightclubs promoting a New Year’s Eve package in the Journal
in late December 1971. I’m not sure why the choices seemed to be limited. But I found a few ads, and they provide a small sampling of what you might have experienced fifty years ago if you wanted to venture out on New Year’s Eve.
Two of the nightclubs were Elyria venues. Mr. Larry’s Beef & Tails had the Lee Abel Trio every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, so the Trio would be performing on Friday, the night of the big celebration. The Lee Abel Trio featured Lee Abel on Sax, Ed McKetta on organ and Val Kent on drums.
An August 8, 1971 profile of Lee Abel in the Chronicle-Telegram provided some interesting information about him. In addition to being a musician, Mr. Abel was also a successful booking agent based in Elyria, with exclusive contracts to provide bands for Stoney’s Rainbow Lounge in Elyria and Beaver Park in Lorain. He also booked bands for Lincoln Park in Lorain, and some clubs in the Sandusky area. To his credit, he only booked bands that were members of the American Federation of Musicians Union. Mr. Abel passed away in August 2010.
Mr. Larry’s was destroyed by fire in mid-April 1975. The restaurant had opened in the 80-year-old converted schoolhouse in 1968.
Over at the Americana Inn on Route 57, the New Year’s Eve celebration featured music for dinner and dancing provided by The Dixie Blues. (A year earlier, the Jerry Manns Quartet had the New Year’s Eve honors.)
Today the 910 Lorain Boulevard address of Americana Inn is still home to a motel – Sprucewood Inn
. It appears to be owned by Ramada Inn and has garnered good reviews.
Lastly, since getting around Elyria often seems corn-fusing to Lorainites, how about a New Year’s Eve celebration closer to home? The “New” 333 Restaurant and Lounge at 333 Broadway was hosting an Open House. A Sing Along featuring “Sandy and Julie” sounded like a nice, relaxed way to ring in the New Year if you weren’t the type to want to dress up.
Anyway, my parents were never ones to want to go out on New Year’s Eve, so none of these enticing festivities would have interested them. I’m sure we spent the evening at home as a family, working on a jigsaw puzzle and probably enjoying a once-a-year treat of shrimp cocktails and staying up until midnight.