Clicquot Club

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Clicquot Club
Clicquot Club Atlantic City.jpg
Clicquot Club is located in Atlantic City NJ
Clicquot Club
Clicquot Club
Location in Atlantic City
Address15 North Illinois Avenue
Atlantic City, New Jersey
United States
Coordinates39°21′38″N 74°25′56″W / 39.36056°N 74.43222°W / 39.36056; -74.43222Coordinates: 39°21′38″N 74°25′56″W / 39.36056°N 74.43222°W / 39.36056; -74.43222

Clicquot Club was a nightclub at 15 North Illinois Avenue[a] in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in the heart of the city. Billed as the club that "never closed",[2] it became notorious as an illegal gambling spot in the city.[3]


Operating during the Prohibition era in the 1920s, the club provided both illegal liquor and illegal gambling.[3] The bar and cabaret were considered "feeder rooms" to bring people to the profit-making roulette wheels, craps tables, and card games in the backrooms.[4] A news item in December 1931 reported a raid on the club in which Federal agents removed $20,000 worth of lavish Japanese and Chinese furnishings from the 20-room mansion and "poured several thousand dollars worth of alleged whiskies and champagnes down a drain".[5]

The bar and cabaret also developed a reputation for lawlessness, as the Clicquot became known as one of the "bust-out joints" for Philadelphia convention-goers eager to "release their inhibitions as they experienced everything and anything available".[6][7] Until 1951, when the Kefauver Committee mounted an "anti-hostess campaign", the Clicquot used its waitresses to push drinks on guests and even offer to sit and drink with them, in violation of New Jersey's alcoholic beverage control laws.[8]

The cabaret underwent a series of management changes in the 1940s. In March 1942 Max Cohen assumed management of the cabaret.[9] In February 1943 Cleo Valenteene, a former burlesque and nightclub dancer, became manager,[10] followed by performer Nan DeMar in July 1943.[11] In December 1950 Michael J. Keeley became the owner-operator.[12][13]


The Clicquot Club has been called "the leading white nightclub" in Atlantic City.[14][15] In 1945 popular black bandleader Mandy Ross was booked into an engagement at the club, and a white vocalist refused to perform with the band.[15] In 1946, Eleanor Sherry and Her Swinghearts performed at the club.[16] The cabaret often booked revues, including the 1946 Nan DeMar revue[17] and a 30-performer revue in 1948.[18] Eddie Kaplan was responsible for booking acts to perform at the club in the late 1940s.[18][19][20] In 1947 drink prices started at 90 cents at the Clicquot Club, Paddock International, and Club Harlem.[21]


  1. ^ Illinois Avenue no longer exists. It was renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard in 1988.[1]


  1. ^ Associated Press (16 January 1988). "Illinois Ave. is no more in Atlantic City". The Free-Lance Star. p. 38.
  2. ^ "Matchbook from the Clicquot Club saying it "never closed"". Archived from the original on 14 August 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  3. ^ a b Kennedy & Waltzer 2004, p. 92.
  4. ^ "Peter Moruzzi's Mid-Century". 22 May 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  5. ^ Associated Press (14 December 1931). "Dry Agents Visit Clicquot Club and Silver Slipper; Several Thousand Dollars in Liquor Seized". Cumberland Evening Times. p. 8 – via open access
  6. ^ Anselmo D'Amato 2001, p. 63.
  7. ^ "Atlantic City Spots Bait Trap For Philly Convensh Overflows". Billboard: 43. 12 June 1948.
  8. ^ Smith, Bill (25 August 1951). "Misery-By-The-Sea This Season at AC". Billboard: 35.
  9. ^ "Cohen Takes AC Clicquot". Billboard: 118. 13 June 1942.
  10. ^ "Valenteene Managing Club". Billboard: 15. 27 February 1943.
  11. ^ "Atlantic City Comes to Life". Billboard: 15. 17 July 1943.
  12. ^ "At. City Faces Dull Holiday". Billboard: 44. 16 December 1950.
  13. ^ "Court Stay for Resort Cabaret". Billboard: 21. 15 March 1952.
  14. ^ Waltzer, Jim (22 January 2009). "Creatures of the Night". Atlantic City Weekly. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  15. ^ a b Kukla 2002, p. 85.
  16. ^ "Off the Cuff". Billboard: 33. 19 January 1946.
  17. ^ "In Short". Billboard: 41. 6 July 1946.
  18. ^ a b "Burlesque". Billboard: 30. 19 June 1948.
  19. ^ "Burlesque". Billboard: 37. 10 July 1948.
  20. ^ Billboard. 11 September 1948. p. 45.
  21. ^ Price War Menaces Atlantic City Clubs. Billboard. 29 March 1947. p. 35.