Bahamas Underground

601 1st Avenue

Contemporary photo of The Pioneer Banque location
Poster for Black Flag playing at Bahamas Underground, February 15, 1980

Located in the basement of the Yesler Building – which was redubbed the Mutual Life Building in 1897 – the Bahamas Underground was situated in the one-time digs of the 1960s folk club, 92 Yesler (which later became the lounge of the Pioneer Banque restaurant and jazz club). It was during the late-Disco Era that the Bahamas Restaurant and Disco was founded here, and then in 1979 morphed into the Bahamas Music and Restaurant Club, a venue with three separate performance spaces. The Deli and the Lounge were on the street level, and the Underground was in the basement. The Deli began by booking exotica bands including Hedzoleh Soundz, the Sundance Rhythm Band, and Tropical Rainstorm. The Lounge booked national draws such as doo-wop masters the Persuasions, folk star Tom Paxton, and blues legends Etta James and Koko Taylor.

Meanwhile the Underground kicked off with a policy of booking local punk-era bands including the Blackouts, Chinas Comidas, the Cowboys, Customer Service, the Debbies, the Enemy, the Features, the Frazz, the Girls, the Jitters, Larry and the Mondellos, and the Magnetics. In 1980 San Francisco’s Neutrinoz performed here, as did California’s iconic hardcore punks, Black Flag.

Around the corner on Yesler is the former entrance to 92 Yesler.

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