Ziegfeld's and Secrets

Dance Club, Gay/Lesbian, Karaoke

Editorial Review

For 30 years, Ziegfeld's was one of the most popular gay bars in Washington. Never the fanciest or trendiest, it focused on performances by drag queens like the legendary Ella Fitzgerald, a small dance floor and a large U-shaped bar. Through a door was Secrets, a go-go-go club when naked men gyrated for dollar bills.

Then the Nationals came to Southwest, and Ziegfeld's and Secrets were evicted, along with numerous other gay establishments. For months -- which stretched into years -- the clubs looked for new locations, but few neighborhoods wanted to welcome gay clubs. Especially gay clubs with nude dancing licenses.

All this time, the solution laid just a few blocks from the original location of Ziegfeld's and Secrets: Lime, a troubled club with dancing and live go-go bands. Ziegfeld's owner Allan Carroll took over the building last year, and the new club, which is several times bigger than the old Ziegfeld's and Secrets complex, is set to reopen on Feb. 13.

-- Fritz Hahn (February 2009)