Finocchio's

Postcards
Menus
Clippings
Matchbooks, Photos, Misc
Photocards

Programs:
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Can you help me obtain any program I am missing, or scans of them?....:)

1936 - 1999

Finocchio's was a nightclub and bar in San Francisco. First opened in the basement of 406 Stockton Street as a speakeasy called the 201 Club in 1929, the club moved upstairs in 1933 with the repeal of prohibition, and started to offer female impersonation acts; after police raids in 1936, the club relocated to 506 Broadway, above Enrico’s Café in North Beach. The term "Finocchio" is Italian for fennel but is often used as a slang term for homosexual by Italian speakers.

Joseph "Joe" Finocchio, the creator of the club, had the idea of a nightclub with female impersonators in costumes when a patron jokingly went on the stage of his club and did a routine that the crowd enjoyed. The club was not advertised as a gay club; it was advertised as a place for entertainment and fun. Both gay and straight performers worked there. The acts included varying ethnic-inspired performances such as geisha-style performances, which may have helped encourage tourists and contributed to the racially diverse crowds, which was unusual during this time of segregation. [description from the GLBT Historical Society]

There was little trouble at the club over the years, though military authorities declared Finocchio's "off limits" for selling liquor to WWII military personnel outside of authorized hours. That temporary sanction was lifted New Year's Eve 1943 after Joe Finnochio and other bar owners signed an agreement to limit liquor sales to military personnel to between 5 p.m and midnight. Beer could, however, be sold between 10 a.m. and midnight.

Finocchio's was a favorite tourist spot in San Francisco from the 1930s to the 1990s, but as cross-dressing became less unusual, the crowds dwindled.

The nightclub was the long-time venue of LaVerne Cummings, and Lucian Phelps, the legendary "Male Sophie Tucker," who appeared there for 27 years.

Eve Finocchio, widow of the founder, decided to close the club in late 1999 because of a major rent increase and dwindling attendence. The club closed November 27, 1999. Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti's only comment upon hearing of the closure was:"What a drag."

below, drink menu / flyer from Finocchio's

  

Bottom Postcard (circa 1974), Left to right: The Eve-ettes (in green),
Carroll Wallace, Val DeVere, David de Alba, Russell Reed, (front-center) Lavern Cummings.

Click here: and here to see pics of David DeAlba at the club.

Below, Finocchio's entrance, photo courtesy of  Mister SF , Check out his neat site!

Below, 1958 photo

Just for fun....
I spotted on eBay (June 2013) these two door being sold by a
dealer in Kansas. They were decorated with designs from
Finocchio's programs, and the dealer stated:
"This is a new fun take on the old Glory Hole from Finocchio's 406 Club
in San Francisco, CA . The men would go to the doors , open the
smaller doors and be "entertained " anonymously from the other side."

HOWEVER !
I need to add a disclaimer. As my esteemed SF historian friend
Gerard Koskovich stated: Ahem, no such thing as "Finocchio's
406 Club" — and what "glory holes"? Nothing of the sort at the
actual Finocchio's in either its speakeasy incarnation or its long
run from 1936 to 1999 as a female-impersonation cabaret. I just
love how dealers fabricate queer history out of thin air to sell
their products.