From the Archives: Disco and Dance Clubs
The DJ did his thing out of the front half of a bus that jutted out from the wall. There were disco balls spinning, a neon sign that flashed "Bus Stop."
The Bus Stop, a disco and dance club, opened in 1978 on East Grand River Avenue in East Lansing. The capacity was a few thousand or so - it advertised itself as "Michigan's largest disco" - and the place was packed on the weekends. It didn't hurt that the drinking age was 18
In the late 1970s and on through the '80s, East Lansing and Lansing had no shortage of dance clubs. You had your pick of where to party.
It was an era of platform shoes, Saturday Night Fever and Stayin' Alive, "Boogie Oogie Oogie" and "Dance, Dance Dance."
Over the years several national recording artists performed at the Bus Stop, among them Eddie Money, Hall and Oates, Jerry Lee Lewis and Midnight Star. You might even run into a sports celebrity or two or three, like a young Magic Johnson, for instance.
If the Bus Stop wasn't your thing, you could head over to the Dooley's on Albert Avenue, which was always popping.
At Dooley's, you could get two for one Long Island ice teas on Thursday nights. If you were there on the right night, you might check out a performance by U2, The Ramones, Wall of Voodoo, Roger and the Human Body (featuring Roger Troutman), Janis Ian, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tower of Power.
There was dancing at the downstairs nightclub Sensations. Dooley's had a capacity of almost 1,000 people, and it stuck around for more than 20 years. Owner Gary Foltz was forced to sell the bar and restaurant in 1996 after the East Lansing City Council refused to renew his liquor license, citing brawls in front of the bar, rowdy teenage dance nights and underage drinking.
The building is now Harper's Restaurant and Brewpub.
The Silver Dollar Saloon opened under that name in 1975 and could accommodate 600 patrons. The club attracted a mixed clientele: college kids, executives, "street people," according to a 1975 Lansing State Journal article.
The "Dirty Dollar" became famous locally because of the rock acts that played there and infamous for the reputation of its last years. Its play list included the likes of ZZ Top, Aerosmith and Bob Seger before turning to country music.
In south Lansing there was C.J. Barrymores, on two levels. Stuffed animals hung from the rafters. It later became Zippers, then the L.A. Globe, which was shut down in 2001 (two years later, the city paid its former owners $200,000 to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit).
Among the other hot spots in the area were Rainbow Ranch on East Grand River Avenue in East Lansing, Slammers on Lansing's south side, Sparty's on Clippert Street in the space that's now the Whiskey Barrel Saloon and Roxy's located inside a hotel in Delta Township.
Contact Vickki Dozier at (517) 267-1342 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow her on Twitter @vickkiD.