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Nightlife in the 1940s



The nightclub experience involved dinner, drinks, dancing and entertainment. Whether it was music or comedy, these big city establishments were guaranteed to have the best performers around.

Most large hotels had restaurants and ballrooms, often with their own orchestras and radio shows. Nothing was more glamorous than visiting the most elegant hotel in town, riding the elevator up to the rooftop ballroom and dancing the night away.

New York City
The Versailles Room
-------Starlight Roof
The Copacabana
The Stork Club
Hotel Astor:
-------The Astor Roof
St. Regis Hotel:
-------St. Regis Roof
Hotel Pennsylvania
Riobamba Club
Onyx Club
Plaza Hotel:
-------The Persian Room
The Carousel
Kelly's Stables
La Martinique
El Morocco
Monte Carlo
Hollywood Cabaret
Roseland Ballroom

Miami Beach
The Latin Quarter

Atlantic City
500 Club

Aragon Ballroom
Trianon Ballroom
Edgewater Beach Hotel:
-------Beach Walk
Chez Paree
Club DeLisa
Blackhawk Restaurant
Melody Mill
Oh Henry Ballroom

Los Angeles
The Ambassador Hotel:
------- The Cocoanut Grove
Melody Room
Hollywood Palladium
The Mocambo
The Trocadero
Santa Monica Pier & Ballroom
Earl Carroll Theater Restaurant
Casa Manana
The Players

Chicago's Aragon Ballroom

"From high atop the Regency Hotel, you're listening to the sweet sounds of the Glenn Miller Orchestra...."

Late at night, our radios brought us beautiful music from distant cities and far-off wonderlands like the Aragon Ballroom and the Edgewater Beach Hotel. It was almost like being there!

New York City's Stork Club
"The New Yorkiest spot in New York!"
--Walter Winchell

There were plenty of jobs available for young ladies: hat-check girls, cigarette girls, camera girls, waitresses, hostesses and chorus girls were just a few of them.

Trianon Ballroom

Street Swing Nightclub Directory
Tips On Tables: Nightclubs & Restaurants
Ballrooms Of The Past
The Wonderful Nightclubs

At the Del Rio

Arkota Ballroom

At the Copacabana

Many nightclubs had camera girls who took pictures of guests for a fee. Within an hour, the photo would arrive at your table in a souvenir folder, or you could arrange to have it mailed. On the back of the folder was an address where you could order reprints. Most camera girls were employed by companies hired by the clubs to handle the photography.

Dance hall on the outskirts
of Burlington, Wisconsin

Beyond the city lights, the local hot spot was often a dance hall on the edge of town. In areas with heavy tourism, dance halls were located at amusement parks and boardwalks.

dance halls

Finding live music and people who loved to dance to it was easy. Countless small bands toured the country, appearing at local armories, gymnasiums and auditoriums.

On less formal occasions, friends gathered at the local tavern. In the late 1940s, this was where many people got their first glimpse of the latest fad....television

Tavern Photos Of The 40s

cocktail lounges
Fancy hotels had cocktail lounges, which often sported modern or art deco styling.

Las Vegas
Before the late 1940s, the hot spot for gamblers and gangsters was Havana, Cuba. When they decided to move the action stateside, they chose Las Vegas, and the dusty frontier town was soon transformed into an entertainment mecca.

When Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, several small casinos opened on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. This area soon became known as Glitter Gulch. Hoover Dam, which was only 30 miles away, was under construction between 1931 and 1936. The casinos flourished when workers came to town during their time off.

In the 1940s, developers focused on an open stretch of highway outside the city limits. The El Rancho Hotel opened there in 1941, followed by five more resorts between 1942 and 1950. This area became the Strip.

Celebrities were also discovering the pleasures of Vegas, which was only 250 miles away from Los Angeles.

Bugsy Siegel's Flamingo Hotel, which opened on the Strip in 1946, was the town's first big-time luxury hotel with a casino and floor show.

Bugsy Siegel
Las Vegas Postcard Museum
Las Vegas Strip History
Vintage Vegas

The Blue Mirror, Newark, New Jersey
"New Jersey's most beautiful rendezvous"

continue to:
Nightlife, page 2

other pages in this section:
Shopping & Dining---------- Travel

Town & Country

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