in Bars, Clubs, and Discos

Traxx was a gay nightclub, disco, and bar that opened March 1977. It was opened and run by Hank Berger, and was initially located on 1812 Payne Avenue. Traxx quickly became a popular spot for the gay nightlife of Cleveland; a month after its opening, the staff of Traxx put out a letter of gratitude in High Gear stating, “We never dreamed that all of you would virtually pack Traxx seven nites a week!” Berger ensured the club’s success by sending out 750 invitations to the “right” people, gay and straight, for Traxx’s opening. The Payne Avenue location was two stories and had a rooftop patio. It was open to all genders, and accepted straight people; however, despite being heterosexual himself, Berger stated that he preferred his patrons to be gay, claiming, “When you say, ‘C’mon, straight people’, you don’t have a gay bar anymore.

Traxx on Payne Avenue burned down the same year it opened. On Sunday October 30th, the nightclub hosted its first ever “Freakers Ball”, a Halloween party with awards going out to the best costumes ($200 for first place, $100 for second, and $50 for third). After the night ended, at around 5 am on Monday the 31st, someone broke into the second floor patio by smashing a window, doused the inside with gasoline, and then ignited a flame. No one was harmed from the fire. After the fire, Traxx relocated to the Adonis Theatre building at 1273 West Ninth Street. It was a much larger space than the building on Payne Avenue; Traxx went from having a capacity of 200 people to 1000. The new location opened “around Christmas”. Traxx appears to have closed between fall 1984 and summer 1985. The club later reopened as Nine of Clubs.

Additional information coming soon.


  • Damron, Bob. “…And Doing Cleveland…” High Gear. October 1978. Page 7.
  • Nosek, John, and Leon Stevens. “Gay Community 1970s.” Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.
  • Pecjak (Jr.), David A. “Bouncing Back.” Cleveland Magazine. July 23, 2014.
  • Petkovic, John. “Gay Cleveland Through the Decades: The Clubs, Queens, and Music that Brought Gay Culture Into the Mainstream.” Cleveland. June 25, 2014.
  • Ross, Aaron. “Traxx – A Welcome New Addition.” High Gear. March 1977. Page 17.
  • Ross, Aaron. “As I See It.” High Gear. May 1978. Page 12.
  • Scott, Jane. “Gay Life Is Nurtured In Many A Bar.” Plain Dealer. July 10, 1977.
  • Scredon, Scott. “Hank Berger’s Nightclub for Gays – Traxx.” Plain Dealer. April 9, 1978.
  • Strassmeyer, Mary. “New Gay Dance Club is Opened.” Plain Dealer. September 7, 1989.
  • “Traxx Torched.” High Gear. November 1977. Page 1.
1273 W. 9th St., Cleveland, OH 44113 (Traxx).

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Many of the locations documented on Queer Cleveland are not well-documented in the historical record. If you have additional information about Traxx, please let us know by sharing a memory, correction, or suggestion using the comment form below.

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