New Times Archives

Charlie's

Charlie’s is a slice of Phoenix gay bar history huddled along Camelback Road just west of Seventh Avenue since its debut in 1984. In those days, the “lil bitty ol’ pissant country place” and dance hall opened by John King (co-founder of the International Gay Rodeo Association) was aimed at gay urban cowboys and country music fans. As times and interests changed (and competition increased) so did Charlie’s. Today, the place boasts a larger dance floor, an even bigger parking lot, a taco truck out front, an outdoor patio with two bars and bleacher seating in the back, and a wide cross-section of the entire LGBT community. Charlie’s events calendar is just as diverse. Drag performances, bingo games, Latin and country dance nights, and karaoke hosted by Claudia B. are some of its most popular activities, but the bar has also hosted crawfish boils, chili cook-offs, and political fundraisers. It's also famous for its after-hours weekend dance parties, which the staff promises will return post-COVID. Hopefully.

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