There’s no shortage of beloved dive bars in East Dallas. But back in the day, the most hoppin’ place in the neighborhood was the Star Lounge & Bar.
Wanda Nolan opened the Star Lounge in 1962, and it anchored a block of similarly seedy, space-themed establishments like the Orbit Lounge, the Rocket Lounge, the Space Lounge and the Apollo Lounge, according to Flashback Dallas. By 1970, an adult theater and bookstore joined the fun.
Classified ads for the Star Lounge from 1965 asked for waitresses. But those ads were quickly replaced by callouts for “amateur go-go girls and exotic dancers.”
Although not every tenant at 4311 Bryan St. was as thrilling as the Star Lounge, the building has had an exciting history. In 1931, racketeers planted two sticks of dynamite in the back wall and blew it off the former dry cleaning shop, Flashback Dallas reported. Records show the racketeers were attempting to control the dry cleaning industry in Dallas by threatening violence if small-business owners refused to raise prices and funnel the extra cash back to them.
The building endured and still stands today, albeit on a much quieter block. But the Star Lounge eventually closed its doors in 1978 or ’79.
This photo was likely taken around 1974 and was found in a collection of 35mm slides from the City of Dallas Historic Preservation Program archives. Browse through other photos from the neighborhood here.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.