The Curtain Club: exciting and secret

Queens Hotel
© Simon Carey: Creative Commons Licence.

Exciting and secret

I moved to Brighton in 1978 aged 19, and was taken to ‘The Curtain Club’ after a month or so. There was something exciting and secretive about standing on the steps down to the entrance and having a vague sense you might not be let in. Once you were, the smell of aftershave, alcohol and poppers made you high on happiness.

Fantastic music

Though the club was small, there were enough areas for those who were loud or quiet; old and young; drag and clones. I was thrown out twice; if you met me you would find this difficult to believe, but it was all part of the fun. And the music, it was fantastic. The great disco hits were of course very popular, but the best was dancing to all the latest tracks before you heard them elsewhere. 

Have memories of The Curtain? Please share by posting below

‘Dancing David’

How could I forget ‘Dancing David’ with his perfect wedge haircut in the corner, showing us how it should be done. Rob and Drew looking gorgeous, and so many other gorgeous boys and so many who didn’t make it through, especially Chas and Gary my special friends. Too many who died, who made that time so amazing, but I’m sure they’d all remember The Curtain Club with affection.

Comments about this page

  • I have fond memories of The Curtain Club, around the early to mid 70’s. It was a gay club in essence, although it had quite a substantial straight clientele, myself included. At that time the options for after hours drinking were extremely limited. Pubs, as I recall, closed at 10.30. Clubs, including The Curtain Club, had a supper license. You paid a relatively small amount of money for some food you had no intention of eating, and would therefore be allowed to legally continue boozing for and extra hour or so. There were straight options with a similar arrangement, but with the gay clubs there was never any worry of trouble, plus an altogether friendlier environment, as well as way better music!

    By Chris Henman (07/02/2018)
  • I was DJ there from 1975 till around 1978. Although a gay club, it was so so friendly towards straight people. The crowd was mixed and diverse, I loved it. Those were the days of disco funk and jazz funk.

    By John Mansell (21/06/2018)
  • I operated Cigarette vending machines in Brighton in the 60s, 70s and 80s in Pubs and Clubs etc. The Curtain club run by Ray Bishop and Derek was so busy I used to refill the machines some evenings – so I had free entry! It always had an exciting atmosphere – music was great. I knew Ray and Derek quite well and I met so many interesting people there. Does anyone remember me? Love to all,  Keith Gray.

    By Keith Gray (06/09/2018)
  • Hello,
    My name is Don, I worked in Brighton’s gay clubs during the late 70’s and worked in curtain club until I left UK in 1977, working the First bar as you entered the club. I have so many wonderful memories of the club, Michael and Peter being close personal friends.
    I would LOVE to hear from anyone who remembers me,
    With love.Don

    By Don FOllows (06/04/2021)

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