The Bar on South Shepherd Dr. Where the Pants Went on Backward

Shepherd Place Office Tower, 2323 S. Shepherd, HoustonWhy would patrons at Rita Wanstrom’s Roaring 60s bar at 2305 S. Shepherd Dr. — just north of Fairview — regularly retreat to the bathroom to put their pants on backwards? In the late 1980s, the site of the nightspot, along with a few neighboring buildings, was replaced with the Shepherd Place office tower pictured above (an enterprise that reportedly bankrupted former governor John Connolly and a few other investors in the project). But back in the uh, roaring sixties, the bar was a famed lesbian hangout — subject to regular police raids focused on female zipper placement.


Beginning about a minute and three-quarters into the above just-released preview clip from an upcoming local documentary focusing on the life and times of Ray Hill, the longtime LGBT activist and Prison Show founder provides a glimpse into Houston’s gay-bar scene in the pre-Stonewall era. New media collective Proud Pony International plans to release a half-hour-or-so version of ‘The Trouble with Ray’ in the coming months and use it to raise funds for further work on the project, which will include more on Houston’s gay history. On the schedule for a proposed full-length movie version: an interview with Mayor Parker, who led the city’s first Pride parade back in 1979.

Photo: LoopNet

Lesbians in the Roaring 60s

One Comment

  • I’ve always liked this building, it is kinda on an island, but the views are awesome. Yes, it was one of Connolly’s many real estate misadventures, it hard to believe he leaned at the foot of the great LBJ, Johnson would never have played so recklessly with his own money, he only invested in properties he has already made sure would turn a profit–or he had others invest their money first, assume the risk then put his money in only if the venture was proven profitable–you didn’t want to disappoint LBJ or lose a penny of his money, I assure you–lol
    I had no idea about the history of this location, very interesting. I definitely want to see that documentary!!