Harlem of the West

From Harlem of the West

Map of jazz clubs in the Fillmore from Harlem of the West

THE 1933 OPENING of Jack’s Tavern, also known as Jack’s of Sutter due to its original location at 1931 Sutter Street, marked the beginning of a new era in the history of African American music in the Bay Area. It was the first club in the Fillmore to be managed by and cater to African Americans. Soon after, the Club Alabam and the Town Club joined Jack’s.

By the start of World War II, with the explosion in San Francisco’s African American population, dozens of additional clubs set up shop, including the New Orleans Swing Club, the Long Bar, the California Theater, Elsie’s Breakfast Nook, the Texas Playhouse and, later, the Champagne Supper Club, Leola King’s Blue Mirror and Bop City.

Other established dance halls such as the Primalon Ballroom and the Majestic Ballroom (renamed the Fillmore Auditorium in 1952) altered their bookings to include jazz, blues, R&B and soul.

The Fillmore scene began to be known worldwide, drawing Hollywood stars and famous musicians to its streets and stages whenever they were in town.

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