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If Club

810 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90005
1939 1968

The earliest known lesbian bar. Working class, racially-mixed, butch lesbian hang out. The clientele was Black, white, and Latina, demonstrating that queer life in Los Angeles did not exist only in white and affluent areas but was also embedded in working-class communities of color. Women at these clubs developed a strong, oppositional community, with their own styles and slang; for example, butch Black women termed themselves "hard dressers." Police frequently raided the bars and arrested patrons, charging women either with "masquerading" - that is, wearing men's clothing - or prostitution.

A 1966 “Barfly” gay guide described the If Club (also known as the If Café) as, “a crowd of butch girls, men in 40s, others from area.”

Featured space in Lillian Faderman's Curator Map.