Crisco Disco was located at 408 West 15th. between 9th and 10th Avenue in what was once New York City’s old “Meatpacking district”.
Opened in the late 1970’s. Crisco’s as it was called was an after-hours, multi-floor club in an old converted warehouse that was open from 9:00 pm and closed it’s doors at 4am but really stayed open well into late morning (for a select few who stayed after closing). The DJ booth was a huge Crisco can had some of the best DJ’s in New York and it attracted a diverse group of customer, from leather queens, to twinks to the Studio 54 crowd.
Crisco’s didn’t have a liquor license (you had to buy tickets which you exchanged for drinks) or if you were in with the club owner you could BYOB.
Hank the owner of Crisco had an incredible cocaine habit He would invite, celebrities, fellow city gay bar and club employees, and all the attractive men he could into his VIP room where a huge pile of cocaine the size of a card table. The club’s VIP room was notorious for the free drugs — so famous in fact that Blondie’s song “Rapture,” with the line “Flash is fast, Flash is cool” refers to a “well known coke and heroin dealer who hung out in the club.
Crisco Disco closed in the early-mid 1980’s and the warehouse that housed it sat unoccupied over 30 years until it was bought and turned into an upscale restaurant during the Meatpacking districts “revitalization”.
Unfortunately few pictures remain and not much has been written and documented about Crisco Disco despite it’s important place in New York City’s gay history.
In 2015, Michael Musto listed Crisco Disco as one of the eight “…edgiest [NYC venues] that shall never be recaptured.
If you have any memories, stories or photos of Crisco Disco please feel free to post them in the comment section below or email me at Will@Back2Stonewall.com.