Colony Club

 
 

The Colony Club was located at 149th Street and Western Avenue in Gardena, and unfortunately little is recorded about the history of the establishment. Starting in the 1930s, Gardena transformed from a quiet farming town into a haven for nightlife—gambling was permitted at legalized cardrooms, and nightclubs like the Colony Club soon followed. Likely opened in 1947, the Colony Club offered cocktails, dinner, dancing till 2AM, and shows 7 nights a week including the well-known "Battle of the Burlesque Queens" every Tuesday. When famed comedian Lenny Bruce and his showgirl wife, Honey Harlow, arrived in Los Angeles in the early 1950s, Honey soon found work at the Colony Club. She performed a classic burlesque act with a Southern Belle theme where she would carefully remove her hoop skirt, bonnet, and pantaloons until it was just Honey and her twirling parasol left on stage. And while we did not encounter any record of Bruce having performed at the Colony Club himself (he was often seen at the similar Strip City venue), the club did alternate between comedy routines and burlesque acts. The Colony Club continued to thrive through the 1950s but little is know about why or when it closed. Some online forums claim the club burned down in the early 1960s, but one article we found writes about famed burlesque dancer, Sally Rand, performing her fan dance four nights a week at the club as late as February 1964. If you have any information about the history of the Colony Club, please comment below!

Pictured here are a Colony Club promotional pamphlet and saucy souvenir coin (years unknown):