Jewel's Catch One
In early 2015, the longtime owner of Jewel's Catch One nightclub announced that the pioneering black LGBTQ nightclub would close its doors after forty-two years. Jewel Thais-Williams, who opened the club in 1973 at the height of the disco era, told the Los Angeles Times, "I felt, and others have said, it's an institution. It was ours, but it's time to move on."
Catch One hosted its last dance party on July 18, 2015, and the property was listed for sale. The building that housed the club (4067 West Pico Boulevard) does not currently have any historic designations that would protect it from demolition or inappropriate alterations.
News of a sale broke in November 2015, and new owner Mitch Edelson announced that Catch One would reopen in 2016. Edelson's family owns a number of well-known bars and nightclubs in Los Angeles, including Los Globos and El Cid.
Union Nightclub opened its doors in Catch One's former home in January 2016.
In September 2014, Catch One was identified as an historic resource as part of the SurveyLA LGBT Historic Context Statement, published by the City of Los Angeles. The context statement, which covers the period from about 1850 to 1980, is a planning tool that identifies important historical themes and related property types associated with the LGBT community in Los Angeles.
A feature-length documentary entitled Jewel's Catch One premiered at Outfest in July 2016. The film charts the history and significance of the nightclub and its proprietress to the LGBTQ and African American communities. Learn more >>
Catch One was widely celebrated as one of the first black discos in the country, and, prior to its closure, it was known as the last black-owned gay club in Los Angeles.
At the time of its opening, discrimination against women and people of color was common at more established gay bars and clubs in Los Angeles and West Hollywood. Catch One filled an important void in the community by providing a welcoming space for black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. The club withstood pressure and harassment from law enforcement and served as a haven for those searching for a home.
The City of Los Angeles' LGBT Historic Context Statement describes the cultural significance of Jewel's Catch One: “The increase in the number of neighborhood bars and nightclubs during the 1960s reflected not only the geographic dispersion of the LGBT community, but also an increasing segregation of patrons along gender, ethnic/racial, and class lines. The places that epitomize this phenomenon are the Catch One Disco and Circus Disco in Hollywood. Catch One in Midcity was established in 1972 as a nightclub for African Americans, while the Circus was established in 1975 for Latinos. Both were founded in response to the discrimination gay men of color experienced at predominately white venues in West Hollywood. Nightclubs like Studio One would discourage non-whites from entering by demanding multiple forms of identification. Both places are still in business and played vital roles for LGBT persons of color, not just places to have fun but also places to develop social support.”