Shelly’s Leg

75 S Main Street

Photo courtesy Titania DeBell
Interior of Shelly's Leg bar, Seattle, March 22, 1976
Shelley's Leg flyer
Seattle Gay Pride event poster, hosted by Shelly's Leg, 1974, Courtesy University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections (PNW04048)

In 1969 the Grapevine Tavern opened in this spot and effectively launched the concept of a rock and roll tavern to Seattle. Many local bands played the room over the following three years, including Grassy Butte, Meat Ball, Sin City, Sneaky Moon, and the Tread. But the most prominent was Jr. Cadillac, a “supergroup” formed by veterans of local combos from the earlier “Louie Louie” teen dance scene, including the Kingsmen, Frantics, Wailers, Sonics, and Mark V. Their initial six-month stint won them a fan base and they even recorded their Jr. Cadillac Is Back LP live here in July 1971.

On November 13, 1973, a new nightspot was opened here with financial help from an exotic dancer named Shelly Bauman, who had received a settlement of $330,000 after losing her left leg in a freak accident at a Pioneer Square parade in 1970. Named Shelly’s Leg, it was the town’s first disco. “The Leg” was a huge hit, but in December 1975 an oil tanker truck on the Viaduct crashed above the club, spilling its fiery gasoline load. It blew out the windows, burned the DJ booth (and 30 parked cars), and terrified the partiers. Magic gone, the Leg closed in 1977.

From here, head east on S Main Street, crossing 1st Avenue, to Occidental Square.

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