Ashtray from Mona’s, the first openly lesbian club, began in a basement in San Francisco’s North Beach district in 1939.

Mona’s, 440 Broadway, 1939 to 1948

Lesbian Pick-up and Male Impersonators. Women dressed like men and entertained customers. Mona Sargent and then husband Jimmie started the biz right after the repeal of Prohibition at 451 Union Street (1933 to 1935), on the corner of Varennes, between Grant and Kearny (now the Diamond Nail Waxing). In 1936 they moved to 140 Columbus (now the Purple Onion). In 1939 they moved to 440 Broadway.


It was actually opened by Charlie Murray as the “440” but he soon brought in Mona as a partner and it became “Mona’s 440.” Often men had to front for lesbians in bars and clubs in order to get the approval of the Board of Equalization for their liquor license. Mona’s flourished during WWII and the Korean War. It was a favorite with lesbians but even with servicemen as it was not “off-limits.” Tourist loved it for its entertainment but also knew they might be able to connect with someone of the same sex which could not happen back home. VIA FOUNDSF

shaw at monas


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Switch to our mobile site