Connie’s Inn, Harlem, New York 1923

connies innConnie’s Inn was a Harlem, New York City nightclub established in 1923 by Conrad (Connie) Immerman in partnership with his brothers, George and Louie Immerman. Emigrated from Germany, the Immerman brothers operated a Harlem delicatessen and made their fortune as bootleggers. Their club was located at 2221 Seventh Avenue at 131st Street from 1923 until 1934. Acts featured there included Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Wilbur Sweatman, Peg Leg Bates, Bricktop  and Fletcher Henderson. Like the Cotton Club, Connie’s Inn featured African-American performers, but restricted its audience to whites only. Members of the Ziegfeld Follies, heiress Gertrude Vanderbilt, and numerous others poured in from downtown to enjoy the shows at Connie’s Inn and were sometimes influential in moving their revues to Broadway.

In the early 1930s, the Immermans moved Connie’s Inn to a downtown location. There, they produced one of their last great revues, Stars Over Broadway, which starred Billie Holiday and featured Bessie Smith as a temporary fill-in for Holiday when she was ill.

The Great Depression forced Connie’s Inn to close and the Immerman brothers to obtain individual employment. In April 1934 the Harlem site re-opened as the Club Ubangi and featured famous lesbian, gay and bisexual entertainers such as Gladys Bentley and comedienne Jackie Mabley (later known as Moms Mabley).

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