This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In the late 1970s it moved to 3rd and Race Street and became a private club for members only ("The Crusaders Community Club"). Cafe Zaza served food while the Black Banana was known as the most decadent after-hours nightclub in town, with glass-walled unisex bathrooms featuring two-way mirrors, a private and exclusive party space on the third floor, and various nooks and crannies where mischievous customers could have their fun.
The club thrived through the 80s being on the cutting edge of fashion and music: styles came and went and the Black Banana's very diverse staff and sophisticated clientele rolled with the punches. This period was marked by such legendary talent as Josh Wink, Robbie Tronco, King Britt, Dj Dozia, Jeff Gross (DJ Rush), Richie Rosati, Willyum, Stango, Suzi Miller and her Bananettes along with local legends like performers: Natasha and Coco, video artist: Nick London, Nick and Gigi Meoli, Toni Thomas, and uber Philly It-Girl, Kim Kelly.
The Black Banana suffered a devastating fire in 1991. Much of the staff worked day and night demolishing and rebuilding the club. All the while, loyal patrons held vigils out on its sidewalks. The club's founder, Garrick Melmeck would succumb to AIDS in the months following the successful relaunch of the club. As the fabric of the Old City Philadelphia neighborhood changed and larger nightclubs opened in other (less populated) areas, The Black Banana played its last record and flashed its last strobe and closed its doors for good in 1998.
The building now houses Wexler Fine Arts Gallery.
- McDonald, Natalie Hope (January 11, 2011). "The Black Banana Reunion: Memories of the Vagabond years. By Nick London". Philadelphia. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
- Melmeck, Garrick at The Gay History Wiki