Music Clubs & Night Clubs

Hi-Hat Cafe

A spot for music, dancing, and liquor violations, Hi-Hat Cafe (also known as High-Hat Bar or Hi-Hat Lounge) could be found on 31 North Howard Street between Cozy’s Record Shop and other notable bars such as Green Turtle Cafe. It was owned by Pat Locicero and N.A. Yocono from 1960-1967 and was associated with Wendell Kirk in 1968-1969. It featured many prominent musicians that visited “little Harlem”. Some of these musicians include Samson & Delilah, Bill Doggett & Toni Williams, Lou Donaldson and Sonny Stitt & Don Patterson who made a special appearance in June 1967. Musicians would play various songs from genres such as Jazz, Blues, Soul and more for excited crowds. According to Ron Ponder (who was once the desk clerk at the Matthews Hotel), musicians would retire to the Mathews Hotel at 77 North Howard Street after shows. This continued until the Mayflower Hotel allowed Black guests and many people migrated there. On the flip side, the bar was cited for violations or crimes such as selling liquor to minors or assaults. The owner, Pat Locicero, was also arrested for possession of marijuana (a narcotic at the time) in May 1971.

The Hi-Hat Cafe also catered to an LGBTQ+ clientele that became more recognizable to the public eye after 1960. Drag was a popular art form shown off in bars like Hi-Hat and the environment that Jazz shows (beloved but often demonized) fostered allowed these people to be more free. Queer people in Akron were still seen as lesser than during the heyday of Howard Street and the media presented them as unsavory. According to A History of Akron Gay Life, other bars on Howard Street that had a significant LGBTQ+ presence were: The Lincoln Bar, Cadillac Bar, Eli’s, and the still standing Interbelt Nite Club.

The club’s closing date is unknown, however it couldn’t have existed past 1970 when construction for the Innerbelt began. Most of Akron’s Howard Street was destroyed to create this expressway in the name of urban renwal. Up until the end, racism and homophobia created an antipathetic outlook for White business owners of Howard Street and readers of the Akron Beacon Journal. The name of Hi-Hat Cafe went with the destruction of Howard Street, but it lives on in photos and the memories of Akron’s community.


  • Advertisement. The Akron Beacon Journal. June 19, 1967.
  • Advertisement. Call and Post. July 19, 1969.
  • Advertisement. Call and Post. June 15, 1968.
  • A History of Akron Gay Life. 2009.
  • Article. The Akron Beacon Journal. May 20, 1971.
  • Article. The Akron Beacon Journal. February 22, 1960.
  • Article. The Akron Beacon Journal. July 31, 1960.
  • Article. The Akron Beacon Journal. May 10, 1964.
  • Article. The Akron Beacon Journal. March 27, 1968.
  • Article. Call and Post. May 18, 1968.
  • Monegan, Max Turner. A Different Kind of Community: Queerness and Urban Ambiguity in Northeast Ohio, 1945-1980. Kent State University Thesis, 2019.
31 N Howard St, Akron, OH

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