Inset: Nirvana’s record release party flyer. Hero: Nirvana with former publicist Susie Tennent taken inside Re-bar’s old school photo booth.

The first signal that things at Nirvana’s record release party for Nevermind might get out of hand was it was a strictly “beer only” event. To remedy this, Kurt Cobain’s pal Dylan Carlson of the band Earth snuck in a huge bottle of whiskey (allegedly Jim Beam) served it up covertly in a photo booth inside the infamous Seattle entertainment mecca/gay-friendly watering hole, Re-bar. Smuggling booze into a bar is a thing thrifty drunks do, but you also might be asking yourself why did it have to be smuggled into a bar hosting a party full of industry types from Geffen Records, local label Sub Pop and thirsty musicians? To explain this, we have to consider Seattle’s long, complicated history with hard liquor. Prior to the 1970s, it was illegal for people to drink whilst standing up, and women were not permitted to sit on bar stools.

Additionally, and until very recently, all sales of hard liquor were controlled by Washington State and obtaining a license to sell booze in clubs, restaurants, and other establishments was challenging. Getting a license to sell booze was even more difficult for venues that catered to lovers of “black” music or that was welcoming of gay people. The Washington State Liquor Board started watching Re-bar (a gay hotspot) microscopically, and would often roll into the club close to closing time to check up on Re-bar’s clientele and essentially harass patrons and employees… read more >

Re-bar Seattle 1990 Vintage Men’s T-Shirt

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