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Jimmy's Backyard

1608 Cosmo St, Los Angeles, CA 90028
1929 1933

During Prohibition, the side streets off of Hollywood Boulevard, such as Ivar, Cosmo, and Cahuenga, were home to numerous speakeasies. They did not advertise their existence, and many were open only briefly before they would be raided by the LAPD and closed. Nightclubs that endured slightly longer included B.B.B.'s Cellar, the Montmartre, and Jimmy's Backyard. Although they were also patronized by straights, they were referred to as "queer bars" and "pansy joints" because they featured female impersonator revues. So accepted were such performances, that the nightclubs and the movie stars that attended were actually written up in magazines like the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

Opened New Year’s Eve 1929 by Thomas Gannon, This Hollywood nightclub was a popular gathering place for LGBT persons and featured female impersonators during the 1930s. It was considered L.A.’s first openly gay bar.

Jimmy’s Back Yard hosted Rae Bourbon’s “Boys Will Be Girls” extravaganza.

When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, law enforcement officers, afraid of losing all vestiges of control over Hollywood nightlife, flexed their muscles by cracking down more often on Hollywood clubs that welcomed the sexually diverse. They were especially hostile to places that offered floorshows in which “man masqueraded as women, and women pose as men. When Hollywood Vice Squad raided Jimmy’s Backyard, they carted off the female impersonators, who were each sentenced to 6 months in jail.