How the Fruit Loop came to be


What’s now known as the Fruit Loop, a cluster of LGBT nightclubs and businesses on Naples Street near UNLV, wasn’t always a gay epicenter. Even in the 1950s and ’60s it was a happening hangout, home to several restaurants and clubs, before taking on the Fruit Loop name in the 1970s. “There was some controversy about that name in the gay community,” historian Dennis McBride says. “Some thought it was demeaning, but you own it and take the teeth out of it.” Here, McBride takes us through a Loop of time. –Kristy Totten

1. Gipsy

An Italian restaurant in the ’60s, this spot transformed into Disco Fever nightclub in 1978, then Studio 4, where singer Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane hung out. In 1980 it became Village Station, then the gay nightclub Gipsy in 1981. The last significant gay bar raid in Las Vegas happened at this address on Halloween 1980, McBride says, when undercover agents went in to initiate sexual contact with patrons. “They had a camera crew outside and filmed the bust.”

2. Piranha

In 1957, it opened as Kelly’s Tavern. The attached diner was a Chinese restaurant called the Hong Kong Room. In 1981 the bar became Gelo’s, then Angles-n-Lace in 1989. Lace was the name of the back bar, which catered to lesbians. Icon opened there in 2002, transitioning in 2004 to Piranha and 8 1/2 Ultra Lounge.

3. Get Booked

The Loop’s lone bookstore was once known as Bright Pink Literature, the first commercial shop in town to specialize in LGBT books. It became Get Booked in 1993 and moved from the west side of the street to its current location in 1996.

4. Quadz

The 24-hour gaming bar’s space was once the Buffalo, a leather bar that moved from the airport area to Naples in 1983.

5. FreeZone

This veteran LGBT haunt opened its nightclub in 1998. It was previously the Jungle Club. “When Gipsy first opened, the county required [businesses to add] new curbs and sidewalks,” McBride says. “The Jungle Club didn’t have to do anything because it was straight.”

6. Club Unity

This supper club is the newest kid almost on the block, as it’s just east of the Loop’s core, offering a full menu, free entertainment, dancing and an outdoor lounge.

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