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Club Laurel

12319 Ventura Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91604
1957 1971

The small, upscale club with a piano bar and booths and tables featured singer Beverly Shaw, a celebrity among the lesbian community. Shaw, who was described as having a sultry voice, often sat atop the piano to perform songs dressed in tailor-made suits wearing a bow tie. Patrons tended to dress up when they went to Club Laurel, which one review described as an “uptown club unlike anything in the way of a gay club we had ever seen.”

Shaw (1909-1990) was from Los Angeles, California. She began her career in San Francisco, California, singing torch songs at the lesbian bar Mona's 440 and the Chi-Chi Club. During World War II, she drove a taxi to support herself and sang as a headliner at Mona's at night.

Shaw moved back to Los Angeles in the early 1950s. She sang at the Flamingo Club (1027 N La Brea) for a few years before moving her act to Club Laurel, originally owned by the mother of Shaw's lover, Betty. Shaw turned Club Laurel into a popular upscale gay night spot catering to the film community, which ran for 14 years. She placed a photograph of herself in the front window of Club Laurel captioned "Miss Beverly Shaw, Sir!", later saying that she borrowed the 'sir' from a Groucho Marx interview with Tallulah Bankhead in which he called her sir. The club's matchbooks were similarly captioned.

In the late 1950s or early 1960s, Shaw produced an album titled "Songs Tailored to Your Taste." The album includes her signature song, "Honeysuckle Rose," and was released on her own label: Club Laurel Records.

Featured space in Lillian Faderman's Curator Map.