in Bars, Clubs, and Discos

The Vaults, a gay bar, opened at 1281 West 9th Street in 1975. The Vaults was owned by Mary Norman and managed by Bob Leesburg. The Vault (also known as The Vaults) was designed to provide bar patrons with a space to “get away from the noise and confusion and have a quiet drink in a relaxing atmosphere.” Unlike other gay bars of the era that placed a heavy emphasis on loud disco music and dancing, the Vault played only light background music and contained “no disco music or dance floor.” The Vault operated primarily as a restaurant and featured a dining area with food and drinks available to patrons. The Vaults was the first gay bar in Cleveland to offer a “regular Sunday brunch.” The Vaults opened its basement bar, The Underground, in 1981. The Underground featured a “bar, table seating, and plenty of room for partying” separate from its more relaxed upstairs environment. The Vaults closed in the mid-1980s. Following a brief stint as a straight bar, the bar reopened as Detour in 1991.

Additional information coming soon.


  • “A New Bar In Town.” High Gear. October 1975. Page 18.
  • “About the Vaults.” High Gear. July 1976. Page 17.
  • Chesnick, Ray. (Jr.) “Totie Speaks Out.” High Gear. October 1981. Page 9.
  • Chesnick, Ray. (Jr.) “Vaults Opens The Underground September 3.” High Gear. October 1981. Page Juszczyk, Jerry. “Cleveland’s Bar Personalities.” High Gear. April 1976. Page 27.
  • Nosek, John, and Leon Stevens. “Gay Community 1970s.” Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.
  • 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.
  • Shamu. “Cruisin’ and Boozin’ with Shamu.” Gay People’s Chronicle. November 1981. Page 19.
  • Suhay, Bill. “Vaults Celebrates 5th Anniversary.” High Gear. November 1980. Page 18.
1281 W. 9th St., Cleveland, OH 44113 (The Vaults).

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