Puneet Varma (Editor)

Latin Quarter (nightclub)

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Full name  Latin Quarter
Reopened  2003
Location  New York City
Opened  1942
Latin Quarter (nightclub)
Address  511 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10017, USA
Similar  Club Cache, The Copacab Times Sq, Webster Hall, Providence, Taj II

Latin Quarter (also known as LQ) is a nightclub in New York City.


The club which originally opened in 1942 featured big name acts. In recent years it has been a focus of hip hop, reggaeton and salsa music.

Its history is similar to that of its competitor the Copacabana.

Times Square location

Lou Walters, father of Barbara Walters, opened the club in 1942 at 1580 Broadway at 47th Street in a landmark three-story wedge shaped building that marked the north end of Times Square and was famed for the signs on the building's south side where Broadway and Seventh Avenue cross. Its most famous sign was the neon Coca-Cola sign.

Prior to Walters, the building was home to the Palais Royale with the Moulin Rouge in the basement in the 1920s. Norman Bel Geddes had designed the interior. Following this it was occupied by the Cotton Club after it left Harlem from 1936 to 1940.

Walters opened branches of the nightclub in other cities and was to sell the Boston club to Michael Redstone, father of Sumner Redstone.

During Walters's tenure, the club featured big name acts like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Patti Page, the Carter Family, Sophie Tucker, Mae West, Diahann Carroll, Milton Berle, the Andrews Sisters, Frankie Laine and Ted Lewis along with chorus girls and concluded with a can can dance.

Walters left the business in the 1950s. Earl Wilson described the club under its new management in 1964 as "more expensive" than the Copacabana - "but then the show's a bit bigger, nakeder and longer."

In 1969, during a strike by the chorus girls, the club was padlocked for not paying rent.

Cine Lido

From 1969 to 1978, the upstairs room was a 575-seat Cine Lido that initially started showing upscale soft pornography opening with the film Camille 2000 (1969). On July 25, 1973, Cine Lido, along with 10 other New York "art houses", was raided, and a copy of The Newcomers was confiscated. Cine Lido closed in May 1978 and was replaced by the 22 Steps disco (named for the number of steps to the theatre).

Broadway theatre

In 1979, it opened as a Broadway theatre called 22 Steps with performances of Coquelico, My Old Friends, The Madwoman of Central Park West, and Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth.

From 1980 to 1984, it was renamed the Princess Theatre and had performances of Censored Scenes from King Kong, Fearless Frank, The Beautiful Mariposa, Sort of an Adventure, Louie and the Elephant, This Was Burlesque, Pump Boys and Dinettes and The Babe.

From 1984 to 1985, it was renamed Latin Quarter and had performances of André DeShield's Harlem Nocturne and Mayor.

Nightclub again

After 1985, it opened again as a nightclub of the same name and focused on hip hop music. Boogie Down Productions referenced the club in their 1987 song "Super Ho". Ice-T also referenced the club in his songs 6 in the Mornin' (1987) and "Heartbeat" (1988). In 1987, three patrons were shot as they left the club after a performance by Roxanne Shante.

Later, the club was renamed the Penguin Club and became infamous for stabbings and fights. The building was eventually torn down in 1989 and replaced by a 22-story Ramada Renaissance Hotel. 48th Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue is now named "Lou Walters Way." The club opened again in the Upper West Side, at 2551 Broadway at 96th Street (40.794643°N 73.972208°W / 40.794643; -73.972208).

In 2003, Producer Ralph Mercado (who had founded RMM Records & Video) reopened the club at 511 Lexington, at 48th Street, in the Radisson Lexington Hotel on the East Side. Although still known as the Latin Quarter, signage at the club referred to it as "LQ." In December 2004, a fight at the club, during a Ja Rule holiday party, spilled onto the street and one man was fatally shot and another wounded in a dispute that reportedly involved associates of the Inc. Records.

On November 29, 2008, former New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers football player Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself in the right leg while he was standing in an elevator vestibule between the VIP room and the coat check. Burress pleaded guilty to charges and received a 2-year prison sentence. The recent events led to a Manhattan Community Board 6 recommendation not to renew the club's liquor license.


Latin Quarter (nightclub) Wikipedia