Founded in 1951, Nick’s Café of Hartford, Connecticut served as a multi-decade cultural institution. However, it was neither the first nor the only gay bar in Connecticut.
Despite oppression, many LGBTQ people were not about to return to living solitary, isolated lives after experiencing a brief taste of freedom during the years of World War II. In the 1950s and 1960s, gay and lesbian bars provided sanctuaries and safe spaces and could be found in all corners of the state. In 1939, the Cedar Brook Café was opened in Westport and remained open for 70 years before it officially closed on June 26, 2010. This cultural institution was the oldest gay bar in Connecticut, and possibly in the United States.
Do you want to learn more about LGBTQ history and culture? Join the CHS on Thursday, September 26 from 5:45pm-7:00pm for a special discussion, led by Professor William Mann, regarding the LGBTQ movement in Connecticut in the 1980s and 1990s. The LGBTQ pop-up banner exhibition, developed in partnership with Central Connecticut State University, will be on display at the Hartford History Center in the Hartford Public Library through September 12. They will also be featured at Central Connecticut State University, Quinnipiac University Library, and Fairfield Public Library.