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Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse

[This short history is excerpted from June 2017 lead story, Gay Bars Evolving into the Mainstream.”]

Before there was JR’s Bar & Grill at [its originall] 17th and Church Streets location — which originally had been a grocery store owned by a family who had lived above the store since the early years of the 20th century — another local family, the Katinases, in 1948 acquired the small building and opened its Paramount Steak House restaurant.

Four years later, in 1952, family member Annie Kaylor started working there, and because there were a number of gay men whom she knew, the restaurant was viewed as a gay-friendly and welcoming place and so became very popular.

By the 1980s the restaurant had become so successful they realized that expansion was needed. So they sold the building to JR’s and moved one block up the street to another small building they owned and had for a number of years leased to a cocktail lounge and also incorporated the adjoining building which they had been using for other purposes. A few years later, they received approval to install an enclosed sidewalk café featuring large windows opening onto the street.

That openness reflected the new gay era. During the late 1980s and early 1990s the bar section near the front was regularly packed in the evenings three and four deep. To this day Annie’s remains welcoming everyone — gays and non-gays — this mixing being another reflection of how things have evolved.