The Exile
1011 Bell

The Exile was in business much longer than most Houston bars, lasting 32 years.
I am grateful for this Montrose Voice story capturing the history.

1952 - 1986

Okay, going to quibble with something above...

It says above the Off Main changed its name to The Exile in the late 50s.
I think it was much later....late 1964

A program from my collection (below) from 1962 lists the club as the Off Main,
and THIS June 1964 article
also still calls it the Off Main, as does the ad above.

So, it appears it was Not the "late 50s," but sometime between June 1964
and August 1965 (The Exile's first mention in The Albatross) that was the name change.

Albatross first issue bar listing

Ads & Articles

The Albatross was Houston's first gay
publication and this ad was in the third issue,
and it was listed in the bar guide of the first issue, 8/18/65

Below, 3-page spread from March 1968 on its drag performers

See this page for issues of The Albatross





date of above photos unknown, probably circa 1974, as I also found the exterior one below

Above from Ciao, 1974

below, bar map, with #17 being The Exile


June 20, 1976

Houston's first Pride "March" took place with The Exile parking lot
as a starting point, and basically the 300 to 400 people just went around
the block and back, but it was the beginning of our parade tradition.
See Outsmart article for story


Extreme Trivia
The Exile can been seen in the background of a (fake) parade scene
in the (very stupid) 1981 slasher film "Student Bodies," at the 25:24 mark

image capture courtesy of Judson Dunn





And the above photo in this 1997 EJ's ad has a story. That's local activist/entertainer
Rick Hurt, aka Rainbo de Clown in front of the Exile sign. He remembers when
the photo was taken and tells me "it was one night downtown, in the mid 80's,
maybe 84 before we went to Dot's restaurant... it was after 2am... we were just
horsing around outside after all the customers left. The reason I say around 84,
because little bobby and I worked the Circus Club male dance club, spring of 84...



Apparently 1986 meant a slow decline, as I found no ads for the bar in TWT during the year; likely
advertizing funds could not be justified, though the bar was still listed in TWT's The Guide unti the end.

Closed 9/30/86

"Mister Exile," as seen in many of the early ads, is now part of the GCAM collection,
shown with curator Judy Reeves, which gives a perspective that this is a big painting.
It hung in the bar for many years, until the bar closed.

Painting is of Billy Jack Robertson

below, two shots shortly after the club closed, courtesy of Gary Jackson


I do not know if Exile II had the same ownership, thought the ad phrasings seem to indicate some connection.

The Exile II
302 Tuam

May 1987 - ~1989

[ I think the guy on the left above is Barry Banks ]

And now, as the Club Exile

TWT stopped listing the club in The Guide around May 1988, cannot guess why, but as
that is my main source for "dating" when clubs were open, I do not know long after the
ad below it was in business