Music Clubs & Night Clubs

The Lincoln Bar

The Lincoln Bar, located first at 13 S. Howard Street and later at 28 S. Howard Street, became Akron’s first gay bar of note and it remained mostly unrivaled until the 60s where its popularity began to fall off as competition arose. The bar, which attracted both Black and white clients, opened in 1948 under the ownership of Charles Nakos and Molly Illitch, and Nakos remained the bar’s primary director until his death in July of 1960. Nakos was in the process of stepping out of his car on E. Market Street when he was struck by a semi-truck trailer after the truck’s steering gear failed.

Following Charles’s death, his wife, Carolyn Nakos, took over and held ownership until her own death 3 years later in 1963. The bar was then bought by Anthony F. Granata, who owned the bar until it closed in 1968 and later opened The Akron Cafe at 532 E. Market Street. While the bar’s ownership changed, the demographic of its audience did not.

Within its community, the Lincoln was often known for its joyous atmosphere, but that didn’t stop the bar from facing its fair share of hardships. On December 19, 1964, the bar suffered from more than $1,000 in damages from a fire that began shortly after the bar closed for the night. Due to its clientele and the time period, it was also notably a spot marked in papers for “undesirable individuals” leading to negative perceptions from outsiders.

Multiple newspaper articles mention muggings, raids, and the bar’s loss of its liquor license. On one occasion, there is even mention of a fight in which a man reported that “a young woman took 50 cents from him” for which he slapped her, resulting in an all out brawl after the woman returned the slap with a barstool to the head. The bar’s spiral eventually resulted in the city’s refusal of a liquor license transfer when the then owner Granata made the request – not once but twice.

Resources

  • “Asks Again To Shift His Liquor Permit.” Akron Beacon Journal. October 25, 1967.
  • “Bar Struck Down After Leaving Car.” Akron Beacon Journal. July 2, 1960.
  • “‘Fair’ After Leap to Fire Escape.” Akron Beacon Journal. December 19, 1964.
  • “Man Beaten, Robbed by 3.” Akron Beacon Journal. November 3, 1966.
  • Monegan, Max Turner. 2018. A Different Kind of Community: Queerness and Urban Ambiguity in Northeast Ohio, 1945-1980.
  • “State Board Cites 2 Akron Drink Spots.” Akron Beacon Journal. April 17, 1955.
13 S. Howard St, Akron, OH

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