Slip through the twittens
In the 1960s, along with many gay friends, I frequented the Spotted Dog pub in Middle Street. But when ‘The Dog’ called last orders, many of the regulars would quickly slip through the twittens – Ship Street Gardens and Black Lion Lane – to get to the Curtain Club which was situated underneath the Queens Hotel.
A labyrinthine design
The club was labyrinthine, comprising two bar areas and a disco/dance floor. It was accessed from King’s Road, through an arcade-like entrance and then descending downstairs to the bars. To the right was a small bar area with quiet music. To the left one accessed the dance area and off this there was another corridor that lead to a noisier bar area.
You had to eat supper
It was designated as a ‘supper club’ and you had to pay to get in. For the entrance fee you were given a supper ticket – which you had to exchange for a ghastly supper. That was how it was in those days. You had to eat the supper too, as it was a legal requirement that enabled the club to serve alcohol, play music and stay open till 1 am.
No close dancing allowed
By nowadays standards the restrictions were hilarious. There was a dance floor in the club but no close dancing was permitted. If two men so much as touched each other there was a monitor on duty who dashed towards them and separated them. It’s difficult to believe these days, but the 1960s were an awkward time for gay people. Although attempts were being made to change attitudes, the police regularly raided the club and took the names and addresses of all those present. Maybe some people will remember Ronnie, the doorman at the Curtain Club, also known as ‘Baby Jane’.