Move to 24 hours leads club to take off

GA Voice - - Outspoken - –Mitch Grooms, who first went to Back­street in 1983

Back­street was pur­chased by Vicki Vara’s fa­ther in the mid-1970s and the club was first named En­core. Be­fore it be­came a 24hour club in the mid-1980s, Back­street was known for its Sunday T-dances, Vara said.

“We would bring in big en­ter­tain­ers. Sylvester came. I thought it was just won­der­ful,” said Vara, who later owned the club with her brother, Henry. “It was strictly gay and ex­clu­sive in the be­gin­ning.”

When Back­street be­came a pri­vate 24hour club around 1985 or 1986, the club truly took off, Vara said, and on a good week­end, some 6,000 peo­ple would pass through the front doors.

“When we went 24 hours, crowds sorted and the straight peo­ple went up­stairs,” Vara said. “I loved it be­cause we fi­nally had such a good rep­u­ta­tion … it al­ways had been like a fam­ily.”

Back­street earned na­tional and in­ter­na­tional ac­claim dur­ing these years and at­tracted some of the hottest acts of the time – Sylvester, Gla­dys Knight, the Weather Girls.

“The first song I ever danced to with a guy

Oc­to­ber 14, 2016

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