King’s Bar

in Bars, Clubs, and Discos

The King’s Bar was located at 2179 East 55th Street. The King’s Bar, located on the lower level of the Hotel King, was a late-night bar and hangout popular with local LGBTQ+ community members. The King’s Bar and Hotel King were both owned and operated by Rufus Harris. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the King’s Bar gained a reputation as a haven for “homosexuals, junkies, and pushers.” Between 1977 and 1978, it was alleged that a “homosexual sex-for-sale ring” operated out of the King’s Bar and the adjacent Hotel King. The King’s Bar was also the site of several fatal stabbings and shootings, most often targeted toward the bar’s LGBTQ+ patrons and locals.

Described as a “cesspool of humanity” by a member of the Cleveland Police department, the King’s Bar was frequently targeted by police due to its reputation as a haven for violence, drug dealing, and prostitution. Though the Cleveland police attempted to revoke the King’s Bar’s liquor license several times over the years, they were largely unsuccessful in shutting the bar down. The King’s Bar was demolished in 1983.

Additional information coming soon.


  • “Informant Claims Pimps Rule Male Sex Ring With Iron Fists.” Call and Post. November 26, 1977.
  • “Male Sex For Sale Group Flourishes in Cedar Area: Violence, Death Escalate.” Call and Post. November 19, 1977.
  • Neff, James. “Sidewalk Business.” Plain Dealer. April 1, 1982.
  • “Sunday Liquor at King’s Bar.” Call and Post. February 19, 1972.
  • Wilson, David. “Gay Bar is Mixed Bag of Violence for Five.” Call and Post. April 22, 1978.
2179 E 55th St, Cleveland, OH 44103

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