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Club One’s legacy, future in the Hostess City

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 12:40 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - What started as one of the first nightclubs for Savannah’s gay community is now a world renowned entertainment complex.

“We’ve been here 33 years. Drag shows since day one, that’s what we’ve been known for. Our shows are sold out most weekends. We’re really a staple in Savannah and southeast as far as Club One goes,” Travis Coles said.

Coles, the general manager of Club One, started his journey at the club more than 15 years ago. He says as a young, gay man growing up in rural southeast Georgia, he finally felt home.

“Coming to Savannah, Club One, a weight off my shoulders coming somewhere and be myself and not feel like I was in danger,” Coles said.

Chad Darnell started coming to Club One in 1996. An established casting director, writer, and film producer, he recently made his own return to the stage on Jefferson Street.

“I hadn’t been on stage in 19 years, hadn’t sang in 25 years on stage. I got to do it at Club One,” Darnell said.

Of course, Club One would not be the institution it is today without the book, the movie, and the Lady. The smash hit novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil became a box office hit movie, starring Club One’s own Lady Chablis.

“Club One was a local icon for the gay community but it really put it on the map for the world. That’s when we can say Club One was world renowned not just regionally renowned.”

One of the Lady’s close friends was Motion, also known as Dennis Fields, a longtime performer who shared what makes Club One so special.

“We have a community here of entertainers, people of all races, cultures, backgrounds, we come here, hang out and learn from each other,” Fields said.

Tolerance and inclusivity. Two very important rules at Club One.

“We don’t tolerate racism, homophobia, anything that ends in phobia; we don’t tolerate here. We want everyone to feel welcome here, that’s really what we’re known for.”

Fields and Darnell agree that over the years, the club has grown into so much more than a bar.

“Everyone there makes you feel welcome, safe. You meet people from all over the world. There’s an energy in the place with the pool table and Pac-Man machine, neon, it feels like home.”

And for those who may be considering a night out at Club One, Coles says, their door is always open.

“It’s always a good time here, staff always welcoming, it’s an institution, people know us all over world, everyone should experience it.”

Club One has live entertainment multiple nights a week. For more information, please click here.

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