The ClubHouse grew out of a series of popular dance clubs in DC based originally on the popular house parties of the Metropolitan Capitalites, an early African American social club. When parties at 4011 14th St. NW outgrew the house, John Eddy located basement space beneath a biker bar at 221 Riggs Rd NE which became the Zodiac Den. Opening in 1969, The Zodiac provided a much needed dance space for gay African Americans at the end of the 60s and beginning of the 70s. Eddy, Chasten, Aundrea and Paulette Scott were part of the team organizing the Zodiac.
When the upstairs space became available, the Zodiac Den took over the entire building and created a new club, The Third World, in 1972. Just Us, the 1975 guide to gay DC, noted:
“With food, drinks, quadraphonic disco dancing, and regular live entertainment, the Third World has one of the most varied programs of any gay bar in the DC area. Their Sunday entertainers in-clude jazz, blues, rock and gospel singers. There is a one dollar cover charge on Thursdays and Sundays for disco dancing, three dollars on Fridays and Saturdays. It is predominantly a black bar attracting both sexes from age 21 to mid 50’s. Reservations are suggested for Sundays.”
While Eddy, Chasten, and the Scotts (also owners of The Third World) developed The Clubhouse, they kept the earlier club going until, in 1976, operations at The ClubHouse necessitated the closing of The Third World.
The ClubHouse commemorated its ancestors, its club lineage, in ads that traced the evolution from the Metropolitan Capitalites to the ClubHouse.
Always a top club in Washington, DC, The ClubHouse soon attracted a national following. African American gays came to town and spent evenings at the club. Memberships took on a national, even international, aspect. John Eddy estimates that 7 to 10% of members were non-African Americans.
ClubHouse Enterprises: Officers
|Vice President||Morrell Chasten|
|Treasurer/General Manager||Aundrea Scott|
|Board Secretary/Manager||Paulette Scott|
|ClubHouse Manager/Security||Rainey Cheeks