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Uncle Sams - Minneapolis

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7th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA


There were a few Uncle Sams Discos located in the North Central and Northeast. Minneapolis, Buffalo and Syracuse New York, to name a few. I worked for the Minneapolis area Uncle Sams as a bartender and projectionist 1975-1976. The club once was the "depot" club venue was bands early 1970s and before that was a Greyhound bus depot.

Uncle Sams was strictly DISCO. It was very large and held 1500+ customers. Large Plexi-Glass dance floor with 4 screens of Video (Super 8 movies). The DJ from the era 75-78 Bruce V spun the records and played drums. Dime nights were great on Wednesdays, $2.50 to get in the door and a dime a drink.

Minneapolis musician, Prince would later play and feature the club in his movie "Purple Rain". The nightclub turned into the 7th Street Entry as the venue evolved back to the bands.

Photos above submitted by bubgrimm.

The photo of the Uncle Sams matchbook cover below submitted by Wally Cleaver.
Uncle Sams Discotheque Matchbook cover

Photo of the famous Uncle Sam's Firecracker drinking glass circa 1976 submitted by Wally Cleaver.
Uncle Sam's Firecracker Glass circa 1976

Photos below by Al Kelush
Description: Another of the infamous "Firecracker" glasses(actually,it was the contents of the glasses that was infamous);notice that the one does not list the Davenport,Iowa club. That would have been used up until 1975 or so. I did have an even earlier version,that did not include the Knoxville club(opened in 1975) that was broken many years ago.

Please note that in the interest of fairness, the names of DJs and staff are listed in alphabetical order.

Click to Add Your Photos to this Page!

Added by ChuckB


Your Comments

Christopher L. |

Hey - Kevin F. Read your post. You probably served me numerous times in the 70s! You said you have photos of the Uncle Sam's Redford before the club was remodeled. What year was it remodeled? Do you have any photos from 1978 or was it remodeled before that? Any of the exterior as well or just the interior? Would really like to see some. Please post a reply and let me know. Thanks.

Kevin Fitzpatrick |

WOW, the memories. I just received an email from a friend (Gary) who worked with me at the Uncle Sam's in Redford, MI. I was a bartender there from 1975-1977 while going to college. What a job, worked with a great group of people, Gary P., Doug K., Roger B., Jim T., Craig S., Pam & husband Mike, Mindy, Jeff S. Charlie G., John K., "China Jones", etc. just to name a few. Lots of fun with the disco days and the many party themes - Drink and Drown, penny Schnapps night, ladies night, Tequila Night... Saved many of the firecrackers glasses and I also have photo album of photos before the club was remodeled. To top off the experience i met my wife Carol there and we now have been married for 34 years. I am still in contact with a couple of my former coworkers - Gary P. and Craig S. It would be great to see past employees and share the "good old days".
Kevin F.


Hi everyone moving from my home of 25 yrs. this week and just emptied a box of my old university stuff. Found my Uncle Sam`s firecracker glass and gave it to my nephew with the story behind it. Went to school at Brock U. on the Canada-US border and spent several fine evenings at Uncle Sam`s Buffalo during the heyday of Disco. I actually had a dance partner from Welland, Ontario and we would go into the contest nights at the the bar. We won a couple of times and my lime green and white Travolta suits would be glowin with pride. This web site rejuvenated this 55 yr olds memories. Long live the memory of Uncle Sams!!! Cheers to all of the generation!!!

Greg |

Now if anyone has one of the T-shirts from Uncle Sam's that would be great! It's red/orange and says "fun under Sun" :) size medium or large would be great I had one once.. I paid $5.00 for it way back then!

Christopher L. |

If Kevin (one of the DJ's at the Detroit/Redford Uncle Sam's) is reading this, you left a message on Fe9 19 2008 that you have the old play lists and some of the recordings form the entire night. If you still have them please e-mail me at clocke426@aol.com Would be intersted in buying some of them off of you, or at least copies of them. Thanks.

bob hirst |

I worked as a bartender in Des Moines from about 1977 to 1979. I was attending Drake University and many of the employees were students with a few "lifers" mixed in. Plenty of memories and that job actually carried some prestige at the time.

I have one of the large glass mugs with the logo on it that I have used for years to keep Q-tips stored in my bathroom.

Great to see some of the comments and also brought back memories of making those Firecrackers. In reading some of the DSM comments, I was there for Wolfman Jack night...also remember they used to play the Doobie Brothers, "Jesus is Just Alright" so you always had to plan for the slow pat and be dancing with the right partner.

If I wasn't working that night at Uncle Sams, our group was there every weekend

Frank |

if you have a glass with providence on it then you have a real collector's item since the club was only in operation about a year.

Tim Shaw |

I was saddened to hear of my old freind's 2007 passing - Brian Bradley from the Buffalo Uncle Sam's. We had some great adventures together.. Rest In Peace.

Janet V |

I worked at Uncle Sam's in Buffalo from 1973-1975. I worked with Bill; Charlie; Pat & Mike (brothers) Tim and Mike were the DJs Howie and d*** on the drums.....I worked in the upstairs projection booth and my girlfriends and I danced in the screen
I remember Bob when Charlie moved to Detroit was as a new manager....Bob; Tony and Larry we bartender's......Jayne....Judy and Cheryl were waitresses
I met Mindy in Detroit and she Charlie and I are still friends today

Mindy |

I worked at the Detroit Uncle Sam's from 1974-1979. It was the best job and I learned how to drink there. I was the coat check person and took the pictures. The people there were the greatest people to work with and hang with.

Greg |

Fred | May 15, 2012 | 12:41 pm

I worked the front door in Syracuse, off and on, from 1976 til 1981. Most fun I ever had working. Jim Farkas was one of the managers, he later went to Buffalo (his hometown). Bear Rogalia took over after Jim left...we had a blast. What happened at Sam's, stayed at Sam's!

Thanks Fred for letting me in way under age, but I couldn't wait I had to go and yes I won a lot of those dance contest, never got into trouble and it took me to where I am today :) I have met every recording artist of that time and Sylvester (You Make me Feel Mightyt Real) lived two houses away from me in San Francisco until he died. Uncle Sam's was the best!!

Doug (Spider) Ineson |

Hi I worked at Uncle Sam's Buffalo Ny (Cheektowaga ny)and never did save a Firecracker glass. If you can email me I will send you an address to send it to

Ken |

Hey I have one of those old Uncle Sam's drinking glasses that is pictured above!

My Grandfather passed away a year ago and this was something in an old box left over that I thought i'd hang onto. I don't know what Uncle Sam's Firecracker is so it would be nice for this glass to go to a good home where it can be appreciated.

Anyone interested?

richard |

I'd love to see the pics in better resolution. My brother, Jason, and I worked at the MPLS. Uncle Sam's in '76-77. It was great fun.

ChuckB |

That reunion idea sounds great kim D! its hard to find disco playing in any place within many miles where im living now. Sparky-Mpls thanks for fixing the floor/lights. Were the Super 8 projectors up when you worked also?. Remember Dayton Wightmans famous pizza streak. It would be cool or organize a reunion for mpls also how about a Nation wide reunion? after all the "United States Constitution Stands As A Model Of Cooperative Statemanship and the Art of Compromise" - www.archives.gov Thanks to Disco Music for this expression. As Patrick Juvet sung "I Love America". Long live Disco and Dance!

kim D. |

My favorite memories are from Redford Uncle Sam:s.We are having a Reunion on July 14th at the Buffulo Wild Wings in Canton on Ford Rd. It will start at 4pm. Anyone wanting to attend please email me so I make sure we have enough seating.

Sparky_Bill |

I used to do the electric maintenance at the Minneapolis Uncle Sam's. That dance floor and wall was a high maintenance item. Since I knew the manager, was able to bring a camera in for the wet t-shirt contests and the Cubby Checker show. Like I said May 17, 2011 | 7:31 pm
here, I still have the glasses and have to mix up a few drinks. Hmmmmm

gary dressel |

I worked the front door and projection booth in 1972-3 at the Minneapolis Sam's. The manager at the time was Pete Budzilick. The live drummer was Mark Hartch.....Great times if you liked to dance, an easy place to meet people. bless the 70's.....................and yes I knew Mark Grevitch R.I.P....


I was there from the late 70's til the early 80's and a lot was a wasted blur. I still can remember Prince and his groupies there on occasion even way back then. He didn't speak much back then either, just like he doesn't now. I remember going for ladies night and watchin' the dancers and the guys would come swarming in the bar after the dancers were done. I can remember going upstairs, those phucking stairs!! lol Just to use the bathroom. I fell down them once even. No pain. Dated a dancer for a bit, couldn't handle the jealousy. So that was that. Let's see....... I moved to TX and missed out on the 'Purple Rain' auditions, but have friends in the crowd of the movie. Flew up to MPLS for the Concert at his home show. Just seemed right to see it where it all began. Got to be in front of front row. Great memories from Uncle Sam's, Sam's & 7th St. Entry. Loved those days...

Wanda |

I used to go to Uncle Sam's @ Nantasket Beach, Hull MA ooohh what memories.. the reason i googled uncle sames firecraker. I just moved and had my Firecraker glass for over 27 years lasted through everything in my life and when I unpacked it was broken......... i was so upset.. then a friend today went to Hull and went into the hardware store and they had hanging a Uncle Sam's tee shirts and my freind told the guy behind the counter my story and he asked him was it the red or the clear glass(which it was) ... he said wait a minute walked out of the store came back about 10 minutes later...... in his hand was the clear firecracker glass he asked him if he waned to buy it and sold it to him for $10.00. Then my friend Bryan came into my job and handed me a package wrapped up I opened it and started crying could not believe he actually found a replacement ....we all need friends like that !!!!!

Fred |

I worked the front door in Syracuse, off and on, from 1976 til 1981. Most fun I ever had working. Jim Farkas was one of the managers, he later went to Buffalo (his hometown). Bear Rogalia took over after Jim left...we had a blast. What happened at Sam's, stayed at Sam's!

bill |

Outstanding!! That is a lot of booze, but, they were pretty big glasses 8-)

Kathy |

The official recipe was a shot of vodka, rum, gin, tequila and then had sour mix, 7-up and the last part was grenadine on top. I made so many of those and still have a case of the old hurricane glasses along with the red firecracker shaped ones that people left at the bar. Since I cleaned up the next day, I took most of them home, except for the ones with puke in them. LOL

Wayne |

Anyone remember the Greyhound bus depot) club in Minneapolis? Were you there? Winter -35 degrees and on a roll!!! Know Mark Grevich the dj? ONe of my best friends. What a blast, especially up stairs in the VIP rooms!!!!

bill j |

Kathy....I used to love the firecracker drinks, you were s bartender, what was in them, what was the recipe

Kathy |

I worked at the Davenport Iowa Uncle Sam's from 1977 until they closed in 1979. Some of my best memories were in that place. When I started, Mike Higgins was the manager, Cowboy was the district manager, Dan Hanley was the assistant manager. And the main DJ was Doug Suiter who became a good friend. I started out as a waitress and I was terrible, so after a few months, got switched to a bartender and had a great time. I think I had some of the best teachers too! And being from Illinois, I couldn't drink in my home state but could in Iowa and work in a bar lol. I also would fill in working the front door and coat check when somebody called in sick. It was a really good time !!!

Jeff Johnson |

I worked at the Sam's in Lincoln....so many good memories....I was a bouncer and floor man there, and remember taking a few Huskers out the door. Ha! Still have my employee jacket, and likely a Firecracker glass or three somewhere. Peace Out!!

howie f. |

I was the house drummer from 1971 - 1975... at 2525 Walden Ave, Cheektowaga, NY.... it was the best time of my life.. between a day gig, working in a band and playing Mon/Tues/Thursday nites I was totally pooped....I could not imagine doing that at this age. Any one have pictures of the BUFFALO UNCLE SAMS? If so, please send to me or post. Thanks, Howie

Frank Hammon |

I have two firecracker glasses somewhere in a storage bin. They're from about 1974.

Marie Hart Bromley |

Uncle Sam's ... Wow! What great memoriesI no longer have photos or the glasses thanks to ex-husband. Does anyone know where I could buy a Firecracker glass? I'm a sentimental smuck and that is a must have. Email me at bromleymarie@gmail.com if you do.

Oh yeah - turned 18 in 1980 (legal drinking age back then!) and hung out at the Uncle Sam's in Syracuse. Good times!


LynnW |

Tom, what a memory!! Same here... can't remember the kids names some days, but I remember what's in a firecracker and every concert that ever played there! And most of the people you mentioned are on facebook and still keep in touch via the "I worked at Uncle Sam's" Group - http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/303824798470/
Join us!

Doug (Spider) Ineson |

PS Wilzak Say high once in a while

Doug (Spider) Ineson |

WOW!!!!! Uncle Sams The 70"s Anyone remember Me being there let me know. I have trouble remebering all the 15 Grandchildrens names let alone what went on then. Seriously it was a great time. Still see our main man Dr.John Z he still cracking the old back!!!!!!!!!! See me on Facebook SpiderfromFE OUT!!!!!!!!!!

Tom W. |

I was a regular at the club in Buffalo,NY from 1975 to 1978 and I had gone in alone one night and was talking to Jim Farkas, the manager at the time. I told him I would like to work there, and he said "I don't hire regulars" I then gave him a reason to hire me by taking him by the shirt collar, and lifted him up like he was a scarecrow dummy, against the wall of mirrors, and he then said"come upstairs, and fill out an application."
I was hired as a Bouncer just as was Steve "the Schneck" which is what Jim Farkas told me, he said the other guys were floormen. I took over Duke's old job,whom I met a couple of years ago for the first time at the nickle creek cafe, on Borden and Clinton streets, at one of the reunions.
I worked with these people whom I remember off the top of my head: (and please do not crucify my spelling it is to the best of my knowledge) Jim Farkas,Wade Anderton, Rusty(female who took admission moniesv at the door), Patty( waitress), Steve Schneck, Bobby Lamarco(aka:cuz)( we were born the same day same year same hospital 1957) Brian Bradley, Roger and Brian Januskewicz, Cathy Pascall,Jimmy "Quick" Kwiklinski, Tommy Woods, Mike Zarbo, Tim Lewis, John Zilliox, Dave "DG" Gillian,Lynn Dietz(yes he is a guy), Joe and Steve Carmina, Doug "spider" Ineson, Tommy White(deceased), and these friends whom I do not remember the last names, Debby(bar) Pat(door and floorman)Eddie Mackiewicz(Patty's cousin)and when I remember more, I will edit this if I can.
I remember when the place was called Gilligan's years before Uncle Sam's took over the property(actually it was "american events" which was on our paychecks) But when I worked there the upper bar was called the "Time Out Lounge" On drink and drown nights, Ihad the mirror side of the bar, and it was my responsability to keep the tables and floolr clear of empty paper cups and crap. My side was always spotless, and when the night was over, I just had to put the chairs (bar stools)on the tables.I can name countless different stories that I remember but the most memorable one was when there was a total maylee, and we weren't even open an hour, and there was chaos/bedlam/and whatever you wanted to call it. I didn't have a good voice at the time because I had enlarged tonsils that I ended up getting removed weaks later, but there was this freakas that I was talking about, near the bathjroom area near the office door that led upstairs and it was a riot(seriously) and punches were thrown people were fighting all over the place, I saw this guy on top of another guy, and i picked him up by the seat of his pants, and it was Lynn Dietz(bartender) and i tossed him aside like he was paper, not knowing who he was initially till it was too late, I then remember minutes later someone grabbing me from the back of my shirt I looked back and it was a cheektowaga cop with his nightstick out ready to clock me and since my voice was non existant, all I could do was point to the logo on my shirt so I didnt get whacked. Luckily it worked. We closed early thet night right after the riot, and the employees had their own private party when the doors were locked not too long after the riot.we sat around talking about the incident, and one of us went to Might Taco on Bailey avenue(a regular stop at the end of the night for food to be brought back to scarf up)
The years I worked at Uncle Sams were the best times, and it was nice when you went to other bars and clubs because everyone knew you and you knew them too. It was a courtesy to let in other workers to our place because they did it for us as well.
I also did specialty work for different bands when they came to Uncle Sams, like when Joan Jett or Johnny Winter came to play a concert, we were stage security, and had to make sure no one jumped the stage, as an added incentive when we did that, we as bouncers were given a case of beer to keep ourselves hydrated. I sold mine to patrons who diidn't want to lose their place near the stage, and when I was out, I asked other stage helpers if they had any beers left, and they gave them to me and sold them too. it was a blast.
Well for now I will leave it at that. and remember I will also add more stuff as I remember it. and even post a pic of me when I was working, in my uncle sams shirt, which I still have, and also still have my uncle sams hoodie. not to mention the hurricane and tnt style glasses from the firecrackers.

Wayne Bossung |

I was a DJ and drummer at the club in Lincoln, Nebraska. What a blast! Anyone have any photos around from that club. It was open in the early/mid 70's.

David Jahn |

I worked as a bartender and front door on Teen night. Worked 1979 to 1980, now run mobile DJ business Travelin Tunes in Buffalo NY

Frank Hammon |

Jill, he was doing to the "Cheektowaga Shuffle."

Jill |

I remember Uncle Sam's from 1979 to 1982. I had so much fun there! I went to the one in Cheektowaga NY. There use to be this older guy name Leo that would always be on the dance floor at the beginning of the night.

Diane |

I worked at the Uncle Sams in Syracuse from 89-91ish. Best time of my life!!! Had so much fun. Saw the Police play there before they were famous. So many drunken fun and sometimes frighting memories (riot in club after Edgar Winter was too drunk to play)!

Dan |

Just drank a toast to Uncle Sams out of My Original 1974 Firecracker Glass. Memories!

Dave |

I remember 25 cent mixed drink night the last day of classes my last year @ Syracuse U. Well, not the whole night. I think I spent $5.00 on drinks but not all for me. My wife is from Syracuse even though we met in Maryland. She has 2 Firecracker galssed that she just found. I have one glass that I got on my 20th birthday when they ran out of the traditional bottles of cheap "champaigne" that they gave for birthdays and I talked the bartender into a free Firecracker instead. The lighted dance floor was a trip

Sparky_Bill |

Just found two Firecracker glasses I got at the Minneapolis Uncle Sam's. I went on the Internet to see if I could find what was in a firecracker which brought me to this site. I did find the ingredients but not the amounts.

Enjoyed the comments though and thought i could add that I was the electrician who came in the next day to repair the lights beneath the plexiglass floor and wall. It was a fairly high maintenance item.

I recall the wet tee shirt contests there as well.

Dan Jones |

Ok..Texas time! I was one of the Main disco dancers at "Uncle SAMs" on west Alabama in Houston Texas 1974 - 1976! Wow! Awesome memories of dj jeff jones,, dancing David jones! Dickie and Nancy managed along with Monk!!my first hangover was from 2 firecrackers!! Good times! The bump!

Terry |

Uncle Sam's Boston (Nantasket Beach),The best disco club on the beach. The Minneapolis gang that came were great, Patrick Lyons, Michael Lyons, Dan Lessard, Deann Wichmann, Got to visit Detriot, Minneapolis and Des Moines clubs
Best summer ever, T

Frank Hammon |

Before it was Uncle Sams it was "The Scene." It was also "Islander Bill's," "The Forum" and there might have been another name before it became "The Scene" when I started working there. The lighted dance floor was always in the same configuration. However, the DJ was initially straight ahead when you came in the entrance and the drummer above him, almost up the ceiling with a long stairway coming down from the left. At this time there was a wall behind them and behind that was Mad Mike's Pizza and some pin ball games and pool. What later became the Millard Fillmore Room at Uncle Sam's was just called the "upstairs bar." The stairway was near the front entrance and began from the middle level, not the main and not over to the side as it was in later years. Some games were also on the main level beneath the "upstairs bar."
Unfortunately, I do not have any pics of when it was The Scene.

Jessica |

Hey I'm a student at SUNY ESF (next to Syracuse University) and I'm doing a project on the location and the building it self that Uncle Sam's (on Erie Blvd Syracuse NY) any information about the years it was Uncle Sam's or other things all I've found through research is that it been many things besides Uncle Sam's ( Suburban Park, Oliver's the Country Club)and any pix of the inside or outside or ant history would be appreciated. Thanks

glenn |

I remember the Uncle Sam's in Syracuse,NY. I went there in '79-80 when I was at Syracuse University. It was on Erie Blvd.
What I remember most is the platforms. You could dance on a small square platform about 8 foot higher than anyone else on the dance floor. What a fun club.
It is now an abandoned club still on Erie Blvd.Now my son attends a local College there. I literally stopped the car across the street and
pondered until i realized it was" Uncle Sams".

Frank Hammon |

I was a p-t DJ at Syracuse back in the early 70's and met my wife there when I flipped her off thinking she was someone else. Still married.
I probably have some pictures somewhere of the place after it became Uncle Sam's...we did a 4-day conversion from The Scene. For those of you who don't know the Buffalo location was going to be called The Scene, but because there was a restaurant by the same name several miles away they called it Uncle Sam's and thus a new concept was born. I even remember the t-shirts had all been printed and everyone asked where The Scene East was...it never existed. A number of people went to Buffalo to train staff and some stayed on there.
I still have a couple of Firecracker glasses and I understand they get about $30 each online here somewhere.
A lot of the records I played are now boxed and in the closet.
I was young back then and learned some things from Pete who I think flies a plane and does traffic reports for radio and TV now.
I went on into radio moved to NC and then VA where I am now just south of DC as news director for four award winning stations. People here can't believe what I did in an earlier life. LOL!

Geoff Cohen |

I was Geof Scott, the DJ at the Syracuse club from 77-80. What a time..Monday night was Oldies Night, Tuesday was Ladies Night, Wednesday was "Drink and Drown" Wednesday, Thurday was "Student Sunday" and Friday and Saturday were the Wet and Wild Weekend Parts 1 & 2. I remember New Year's Eve in July, Bear and Father Mark,Farcas,Mom & Dad, Peter and Fred at the front door. I used to come back on the weekends from Boston to spin. Met my first wife there, and still have my disco 12" collection in storage!

Sabrina |

I remember Uncle Sams. I also worked there, in the Houston location, back in 1976. Had many good times!

Mark Bregoli |

"Boston's" Uncle Sam's was NOT in Boston, but was actually located on Nantasket Beach in Hull, Massachusetts, a few miles south of Boston. Our club Disco'd and Rock'd like you wouldn't believe!


Has anyone ever received an e-mail that says, "Someone just responded to your post at DiscoMusic.com"? If so, can you please tell me how to view the response? I keep clicking on the link provided in the e-mail but it just sends me back to this page. If you know how to view a response, PLEASE just type the directions thru a comment and NOT by responding to mine because, obviously, I won't be able to read it! Thanks!

Elliott Bettman |

yeah they were always more on the rock side of the spectrum.

mark dempsey |

i remember seeing king crimson,kraftwork and devo at the redford michigan uncle sams

Elliott Bettman |

The Firecracker was expensive. Was shocked it was about six bucks in THOSE years. The bartender said it has four shots of liquor in it and of course, you DID keep the glass. Then came premed med and in between Herpes and AIDS stopped the sexual revolution. Disco began to suck too. "Star love" "Take that to the bank" "heaven knows" and even something by Dolly Parton. In 79 the record business almost went bust with only the Doobie Brothers and Punk to fill the vacuum.

Marianne |

Thanks Bob for the info on Flanigan's and Bradley station. I couldn't for the life of me, remember their names. I lived there, too! Danced my a** off at all of them. I just made the rounds. Yes, Bradley Station was a little seedy, but no matter, if the music was playing, I was dancing. I used to live on White Ave in an upstairs apt but they razed the bldg years ago and 'put in a parking lot.' :D and also on Highland Ave in an upstairs apt, those apts are still there. And also in an apt behind McDonald's on Cumberland. We were neighbors and didn't even know it...


Buffalo Uncle Sam's Reunion sat May 15th 5-10 pm at Hamburg Fairgrounds! DJ Dr Z (John Zilliox) will be there! It is also a wine & food festival, come join us! www.springintosummerfestival.com

Tom Larsen


Hi gang. I submitted a few e-mails in the past about the great times I had at the Uncle Sam's on Telegraph Road in Redford, Michigan. If anyone has any old photos of the interior or exterior PLEASE send them to me at corpbuyers@aol.com I've looked on this site for Redford photos but haven't seen any. ALSO, someone earlier had mentioned they had the actual DJ playlists from the Uncle Sam days in Redford. If you still have them please contact me at the same address. Thanks! Chris

Rita Stewart |

I drank in Uncle Sam's in Buffalo, NY, had quite the blast, coming from Ontario. Our legal age was 21, you guys were 18. No bar in Ontario could compare with the fun I had there. I have kept 3 firecracker glasses since the early 70's. Two of them are tulip glasses, one has more cities on it, the other is the red one that looks like a firecracker. Just wondering if anyone would be interested in these?

Lynn W. |

I worked at Uncle Sam's in Buffalo, NY from 1981 until in closed in (I think) 1985. I also met my spouse there! (Herb Wall) Only a few of the names that have been mentioned above are familiar... Brian Bradley & John LaRusso, but the pictures are fantastic! What a trip down memory lane! I actually stumbled across this blog while looking for photos to create a Facebook Group for the very same purpose. Thanks!! Lynn

bob von mitch |

Now I remember the place on Cumberland, was Bradley Station, owned by Jim Brandley !Hard core R & R.Saw Allman Bros. there, along with many up and coming southern rock bands. Great music, a little seedy, but alot of fun !

bob von mitch |

FINALLY someone else from knoxville ! The Poolplace was Flanigan's, part of the Big Daddy's chain out of Fla. On the right side of the Strip was the University Club , I forgot the place on the left. Lived up on the Strip next to Sam & Andy's in the Hotel Monday for five years, some of the best times in my life !

Marianne |

I LIVED at the Uncle Sam's on Alcoa Hwy. in Knoxville, TN. From the time it opened almost til it closed. I loved that place. I remember my picture up on the screens. I also remember when Walk This Way by Aerosmith came out, you were in mortal danger if you were between me and the dance floor! Tom, I probably saw you weekly, just don't remember the name. I remember the dance floor was downstairs and... the bar was upstairs? Not sure about that one, I didn't drink much, lol. Were they all laid out the same way? I remember being really sad when it closed, but I was married by then :( 1979. Not any more though...
Remember La Cantina on the U.T. campus? And what was the name of the club out in West Knoxville that ultimately turned into a Pool Place? And also the club on Cumberland Ave. on the left, going up the hill towards Henley? I danced my a** off at every one of them! God, I'm old... I can't even remember the names of them all.

Lou |

The Firecracker: Tequilla, gin, rum, vodka, Galliano, grenadine, 7up, sour & orange juice. Approximately 9 oz of liquor in a 22 oz glass! Got that straight from a bartender at the Minneapolis Uncle Sam's in 1977. It was the place to be any night of the week! The floor lit up, the back of the stage lit up, there were strobe lights, a slide show on one wall, the movie 'The Ten Commandment' one the other wall, & don't forget the bubble machine that blew above the disco ball! We can't remember the name of the little old man that was always there. He worked at a local book shop & was always popular with the youngest ladies!

Angi L. |

I frequented the Uncle Sam's in Davenport, Iowa. Had a lot of great times and made a lot of good friends! Lost my Firecracker glasses in moves over the years. Does anyone out there have a spare they would be willing to sell?

Bob Lewis |

Does anyone have any photo's of uncle sams mpls back in the late79-early 80's. Does anyone know what ever happened to the photo's that they took there and displayed up on the big screens? Please help me locate them.

John Zilliox |

Wasn't Rockin Rob the drummer? I had forgotten his name all these years. I worked there for a week as a DJ from Buffalo in 76. He entertained me for the week! If you see this, thanks again Rob!

"SICK" |

I started in Lincoln club 1976, ended up in detroit 1978. does anybody remember "Ramblin' Raymond Floyd Newman Caan" Prosser? "Unique" Mike Gluvna? "Bugs" Lessard? "Rockin' Rob" Bennet? Councilman Mike Guido, Connie Trout, Kevin Herring, Barb? Sheppard, Millard Filmore Lounge, Mark Brazil, Mike Koelzar, The two Debbies? Lombardi? Lombardo?
Yes the place was huge, and nuts. Shortly after I left a bartender was deliberately run ove in the parking lot

Dennis Craswell |

Dennis Craswell from "CROW", was the house drummer at Uncle Sam's for years...does anyone have any photo's??

bob von mitch |

With the exception of Pete, I think I am the only other entry from Knoxville Uncle Sam's ! Started in '74 as a bouncer, then manager in '78.Same concept as the other Sam's with a lighted dance floor, a Barney Google's, a slide show, a drummer, etc. 33,000 sq, ft, with the main draw from U of Tennessee. It was my life for 8 years ! Tuesday was Ladie's Nite, Wednesday was Rock and Roll, Thursday was Student Nite. During the sunmmer we did national acts such as Hank Williams Jr, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mitch Ryder,Rick Derringer, B.B. King. Had Brian do close-up magic across the bar in Barney's, and had a huge gameroom with a mechanical bull when the cowboy craze hit! The names all sound familiar; had Gary Sacker for awhile, Jeff 'Fungo' Huggins, Mike 'Moose' Langley, and Wild Bill Koehler as a Distric Manager.Met and worked with the woman I should of married and let go, the women I did marry and later divorced, at Sam's. And yes, I stole the Barney Google light from over the bar and the Barney cutout when I left! Uncle Sam's started me on a long journey of managing clubs in Seattle, Knoxville, Richmond VA, Orlando, Ft Lauderdale, Miami, and South Beach, and now having my own bartending service.


Thanks for the link, Dr. Z and all the great comments on here! I was a DJ with Dr.Z in Buffalo and occasionally filled in for the Legend of Uncle Sams.

Zarbo, I'm still also married to the lady I met at Uncle Sam's - 29 years later.

$.25 cent drinks on Monday nites - incredible!

john zilliox |

some customer that was a monday night regular contacted me through facebook.

mike zarbo |

haven't had that hairdo in years but I may be able to find a wig that looked like that.........

john zilliox |

you need to bring that big hairdo of yours! maybe I can make it also! I only have one firecracker glass. Can't risk it being broken or stolen! lol

mike zarbo |

Phil, I have the recipe for the firecracker, I also have some firecracker glasses. I'd be interested in coming to your disco night friday.

Phil Kinecki |

I own Duff's Famous Wings in Orchard Park (Buffalo NY)and have in house video clips asking if people remember the all the now closed bars. Uncle Sams was always a favorite growing up. I saw U2, Payolas, Men At Work, Talas, and a slew of other shows there. This Friday, Aug 7th, 2009, we are going to have a disco night with old disco videos playing, shirt giveaways and I am going to try recreating the Firecracker and offer it for sale that night. Alabama Slammers will also be flowing.

mike zarbo |

John, Joe, Pete It is great to see people from all over the United States who enjoyed Uncle Sams as much as we did. I met my wife Elaine there, 30yrs ago. We had so many amazing times. Mike Godkin, Kenny Grube, Bob Dorko, Charlie Grecko John Lyons, Mike Lyons, John LaRusso, Duke, Aldo DeVincenso, Paully Barr, Keith Marquee, Brian Bradley the list goes on and on. The firecracker was basically a tequila sunrise with vodka run and sour mix added. The light show was amazing, the slide shows that would rival any video from today the neon 3d star. Buffalo may have been the "armpit" of the corporation but we had fun. In my estimation the best club in Buffalo for at least 10 years. No one else can claim that. Be safe, MIke Z.

john zilliox |

marty, trying to remember your friend joe. I was the dj on monday night from 75-78. Only drummers I knew were d***, bill and bruce. did he have short black hair and skinny kid?(weren't we all back then? lol)It's coming back to me now! lol had to be in 77. they got rid of the drummers in the fall of 77 when they remodeled. You're right..great times on monday nights.

Marty Breen |

I used to go there starting in 1975 in the fall on Monday nights. Joe Siragusa from my high school was the drummer. Mainly went there to see concerts later. Saw U2 in 1980. Talas did their reunion concert there in 1979. Too many to remember. Great times back in Buffalo.

sandy emerson |

hi john!surprised you still remember me,i cant wait for the reunion,please let me know when it is,hope all is well with you,hope to see you at the reunion!

John Zilliox |

Hi sandy!
Yes, I remember you! you weren't the only one with a crush on the DJ ! LOL! I also remember the first teen night with 8 kids. half of them were my sisters! it grew to over 1500 kids on Sunday night. alot of fun. yes, I will definitely make it to the next reunion. my email is drzhealth@frontiernet.net and I can let you know when it is. I hope to get in touch with others for the reunion this year. I've got some picks from Sams I'd like to post.

Jocko |

Hey Mike,thanks for the memories! I was part of the Uncle Sam's scene in the mid to late 70's and yes, I am now in my mid 50's. Doesn't seem possible that it was over 30 years ago that we were blown away by Karn-Evil #9 as the DJ cranked things up for what always promised to be a great night! Funny, I too think of that whenever I hear that tune to this day. Music can take you back like that as I am sure you know. I always preferred Uncle Sam's to the Joker and for some reason remember it being there first. I know that everyone I knew would be at Sam's and some nights we would check out both clubs. I think there was a Joker in Council Bluffs too. I moved from Dead Moines around 1980 so was not there for the demise of Uncle Sam's. I am glad about that because I always want to remember it like it was in the glory days. We probably crossed paths back then and appreciate the reconnect all these years later. Enjoyed reminiscing with you!

Mike |

OK so lets face it, if you were a part of the Uncle Sam's scene in Des Moines in the late 70's then you're 50-something now or had a fake ID! Accepting that we all probably remember things differently it's in that light that I share what memories that A. are correct given the amount of booze consumed at the time, and B. are accurate accounts of things as best I can remember after 30 years....
First there was the Joker on E. 14th and Euclid. that bar blew away anything that came before. Just its unbeleivable size and all the things going on from the gameroom /deli to the live band and dance bar to the theater and the DJ dance floor seemed huge with bars at both ends. When Uncle Sam's first opened it struggled competing with the Joker. There was an Uncles Sam's in Boston that was the number one money maker of the 6 at that time. It was run by a manager named Mario and they brought him to Des Moines to turn things around. He started advertising and held ladies nights on Tuesdays and Saturdays where the girls got in free and drank free all night and it wasn't long before things turned around. I still remember the DJ playing Karn-Evil #9 by Emerson Lake and Plamer at 9:00, turned on the lighted walls and dance floor and cranked up that amazing JBL sound system and if that didn't get you fired-up then you didn't have a soul!
If you haven't heard that song in a awhile then listen to it again and see if it doesn't take you back to 1978!!
Do you remember the sofa areas on each side of the DJ above the dancefloor? We were sitting there one night when the manager asked us to give up our sofa so Wolfman Jack could do a DJ set. I feel so fortunate to have lived in that era! I get upset when my kids call it "disco". I tell them that it wasn't even disco music that we danced too at first, Head East "Never been any reason" Commodores' "Brick house" several Earth Wind and Fire songs "September" the Doobie Brothers; "Long Train Runnin and China Grove" Boston's; "Longtime" the list goes on and on! I still remember in the Spring of 1979 when The Sugarhills gang produced "Rappers Delight". I'm not much of a rap fan but that was a cool song. I still have some firecracker glasses in a box in the garage! Weren't they $3.00? That was a lot of money for a drink then. All good stuff. I'm sure I got some of this wrong but I hope that my memories (wrong or not)bring back some more good memories for you! Mike

Chuck B |

Great memories except most of mine I admit I drank too many firecrackers in honor of some groovy times. I remember Dayton back in 1974 was one of the first "Streakers" at Sams. He was a bartender their and went across the street to order a pizza without plain clothes really! It appeared in the newspaper. Thats how i got my job their was just to mention his Name...hired.

Nowadays one would not get a job that way!..times have changed they sure have. I know one thing alot of dance floors are empty. I got fired from Sams for asking to take a night off Pete said no i said yes i want to dance, to have fun been working 7 days a week make jack a dull boy. Pete fired me and the rest is history. I had way more fun as a customer then a bartender/projectionist...but now heck i would take it all back just to see the people having fun and the Music. Know i make Ambient/Down Tempo Soundtracks but i do it alone. Awaiting the rebirth of Disco again!!!...

sandy emerson |

regarding john zilliox from buffalo ny,i remember you working there as a dj,i had the biggest crush on you,my brother dennis emerson,was older than me,knew you,i started out on teen night,then had fun there once i turned 18 ,i use to bug you all the time,hope to get to the next reunion!!

Barbie |

My girlfriends and I went to Uncle Sams in Minneapolis often. We'd get our $100.00 pay check on Friday. Go to Ridgedale to buy an outfit for $80.00 and have enough left over for the cover charge and drinks for Friday and Sat. night. Although who needed drink money when a smile would get you drinks for free. I guess those days are gone - women's lib put a stop to that -- or maybe cheap men. The line to get in was often 2 blocks long (unless you knew the manager/owner -- which we did). A lot of good memories. I have a dozen pictures of my girlfriends and I in the women's bathroom. The wall paper was terrific for a backdrop. Remember the cry room?

Karen |

I too had the pleasure of going to Uncle Sam's in Redford MI. I grew up in that bar. It was the late 70's early 80's. What a great time, what a great bunch of people. (regulars) We even used to all meet up at Hines park for BBQ's. Here are some of the gang. Me,(Karen) my husband George (we dated on and off thru the Uncle Sam's days) There was Bob, Bruno, Joel, Sandy, Gloria, Wayne, Sally, Rick, Tom, Karen Vella, many more that I can't remember this second. Also can't forget the Canadian's. Darrell, Switt, Joe Vella, Ken Sawchuck, Rick.

Would love to talk to people that remember these people and these days. What a good time we all had.
Contact me at kmmichel222@yahoo.com

Brent Roberts |

There was an Uncle Sam's in Pasadena, Tx (Houston area) also. My friends and I would stake out a table close to the Ladies room knowing that we would be able to see, and be seen by, every girl in the place.
We'd order a Firecracker, then a Tank, and eventually a 151 and coke. After that we didn't care about the women. LMAO.
My Army friend, Donna Tobin, frequented the Uncle Sam's in Des Moines.

John |

I visited Uncle Sam's in Dewitt on many a Friday night back in '73-''75. Was in the Air Force and stationed at Hancock Field in Syr.

Great club (pre-disco era). Used to play everything from "Chicago" to the "Doobie Brothers." The drummer was great! He never missed a beat to any of the songs. Loved the elevated and lighted dance floor, and the women were fantastic!

Was back there 10-15 years ago, and I think it's a country and western bar now... Bummed!
From reading all the memories here, I have a feeling I missed the disco thing in NY, but I lived it in Boston later.

Joe Carmina |

Was a bartender at Sam's on Walden Ave, Buffalo in 77/78. Worked #2 at the big bar most nights. Mike Zarbo, Steve Carmina, the Germaine brothers, Duke, ... What a great time.


Hey! Great site...I worked at Uncle Sam's on Telegraph (Detroit) in 1974 thru about middle 1975. I ran the slide and movie projectors and took pictures of the customers. Still think that's a great idea...what a great way to get people to come back -- to see if their picture made the screen!!! I remember Jimmy Tupper, Scotty (assistant Mgr), Charlie the manager (I think he originally worked in Buffalo)and Debbie and Patty the waitresses and I were roommates for a while. Mindy took my place when I finally had to get a "real job". I know she had a stack of the slides from way back then...I wonder if she's still around!? We had a reunion a while back...maybe 10-15 years ago...almost everyone showed up.
We were so lucky to have a place like this to hang!

John Z |

d*** L was not there. There was one guy from 71 and a waitress named donna from 74. It was a very poor showing, probably because of labor day weekend. next year they will advertise more. last year they had a good crowd. I remember bill b. he filled in occasionally for me.

Howie Feller |

The dj was originally b** bailey and then big Mike W*** took over... i replaced the original drummer (can't remember his name)... In 1971-72.

Howie Feller |

Thanks John Z... i hired D** Lido when i was leaving to be in full time bands. Was he at the reunion?

John Z |

How could I forget Bruce McFadden!

John Z |

there was an Uncle sams reunion last night at Nickle Street Cafe in west seneca. they will have it again next sept. I was the dj from 75-78. I don't remember you but i remember d*** Lido and Bill. (don't remember his last name)

Howie Feller |

I was the drummer at the Buffalo, NY 2525 Walden ave location from 1971 - 75'ish.... What a great place. Anyone have pictures from back then? I still have a firecracker glass also.... howie

Tim Leslie |


I worked as a bartender/beer bar operator of and on in Davenport back from Sep 75 til Mar 77 and had some great times!!! Our original MGR was Dan Lynch from the Lincoln club, along with Bill Wallace, Gary Sacker and Jonesey. The DJ's at the time were Wayne Czichas, Rory Griggs (looked alot like GREG Brady on the Brady Bunch) and Jim Chapman who also did some drumming. I believe Jim was the first jock in Davenport to beat mix.

The music was always great. As you said a mixture of Rock and Disco with oldies, country thrown in here and there. The young adults now don't know what they are missing.

Kevin Jackson |

I bumped into this site and saw some references to the club I used to work at, the Uncle Sam's in Davenport. It was a happening place at the time. I worked the door, bartended and DJ'd. (In fact, I had the club record for Firecracker Sales If I remember right Vodka Gin Rum Sweet and Sour, Seven Up and Sloe Gin (or maybe Grenadine)at the top) Terry Tilka (I believe Terry still owns a bar or two in the Quad Cities)and Rick Koprucki were two of my friends who worked there. There were two waitresses with blond hair that were a lot of fun and for the life of me I can't remember their names. Managers included Bill Wallace, John Lyons and Tony ??? (It's a shame I can't remember his name because he was a great guy.) The place was really close. We'd work till 2 or 3 in the morning, then play pool in the back until it was time to race through the parking lot to the Denny's where they always had a room waiting for us and we often took our own orders.

We played alot of non-disco oldies and rock and roll at that club and I found this while looking for one of the discs I used to play The Great Timber Rush by Timberline. They had a cut called Someday that we played a couple of times a night and I just found it again on line. Nice coincidence to see this here as well.

John Z |

In buffalo, monday was oldies night and thursdays was student appreciation. .

Wally Cleaver |

I think Tim is correct about the cover being $2.50 for drink and drown night because I used to pay my cover with quarters. I would always raid my change jar on Wed. nights and sometimes even had some left to put back at the end of the night...

I know Tue was Ladies Night and the weekends had their own theme but does anyone remember what they called Monday and Thursday nights?

Hey Gary, if you ever get around to putting together an Uncle Sams reunion in Des Moines, let me know. I can think of many people from those days that would love to attend.

Again, it has been great reminiscing with everyone here. Keep the memories alive, because we will never see a club like Uncle Sams again.

Gary Hagan |

One last thing. Did any of you ever go to Mikilo's Labor Day parties??? He had the best and biggest bashes every Labor Day weekend. Plenty of beer flowing, gobs of people (best looking women in Des Moines), and donated all the money (I think we all paid $5 to attend) to the Jerry Lewis Telethon. Remember some hellacious volleyball games, great company and tunes, a few wet T-shirt contests, and ALWAYS a great time!

Gary Hagan |

Double J, are you a gal or a guy? Yes, I'm Starsky and my best friend was Hutch. Thanks for recollecting us and in a favorable light! Yes, Mikilo was an institution all of his own. He tamed down quite a bit and now lives in Las Vegas, NV. He's quite the family man now... happens to the best of us. See him at the Iowa State Fair on the first Friday (reunion night) sometimes. Would love to correspond with others who remember the "gool ol times!" I recalled the cover for Wednesday at $3 to get in, penny beer and 25 cents for a mixed drink.

John Z |

the buffalo club had a large bar and quiet one..barney googles.

Tim Leslie |

Double J-

The cover on drink and drown nite was $2.50

Wally Cleaver |

To all of you who have posted, thanks for taking me back to a great place and time in my life. Uncle Sam's was the perfect club for the last several years of a decadent decade. Me and all of my buddies were there every Tue, Wed, Fri and Sat night. We would party until close and then go to breakfast - if we didn't get lucky that is. Sorry Double J, I do not remember what the cover was on Wed for penny beer night but it seemed like a bargain even in those days. Did we actually give the bartenders pennies and nickles? Still remember the urinals overflowing in the guys bathroom, especially on that night. Here is a question for everyone across the country - did all of the clubs have a disco side and a quiet bar? Would love to see some more photos here if anyone has any.

Double J |

Oh man, Uncle Sams in Des Moines from the mid to late seventies was definitely the place to be and be seen. I remember Rich Emery, most of the staff and the members of Des Moines finest, including Lt. Moody that worked the door. I recall your group of guys too Gary and a wild man named Mikilo or something like that that ran with your crowd. You weren't one of the dudes they called Starsky or Hutch were you? You guys were always talking to the best looking women in the place and all of the hotties in Des Moines were at Uncle Sams on ladies night (Tue). As someone else posted, I recollect Wed was was penny beer and nickle drink night and I want to say Firecrackers were a quarter. Does anyone remember what the cover charge was? Seems like a great deal now. Anyway, thanks to all for the great memories. Would love to go back in time and do the bump and see everybody from those days again. Funny, how we thought they would never end.


Don't ask me how I remember, but 30 years ago this evening, on Saturday, July 15, 1978, I took a girl to the Uncle Sam's in Redford, Michigan. I remember dancing with her to "Boogie Oogie Oogie" which had just made it to the Detroit charts. We shared a great summer that year before she went back to college in the fall. I ran into her 27 years later in 2005 and all of those memories of Uncle Sam's came rushing back. What a great place to go! Thanks for the site, Bernie!

nrgbeat |

If anyone has a photo of the exterior of the Uncle Sam's in Syracuse, please put one up.

nrgbeat |

I've been to the Uncle Sam's in Syracuse several times. When I was there, they never played a strictly disco format, but incorporated rock music like the Stones "Brown Sugar" into their sets.

The last time I was there the name had changed to Oliver's and it's changed hands since then.

I was searching on Google and found that The Police played there in early '79 before they were famous.

Chinaclipper |

I remember the Uncle Sams club in Lincoln, NE. It was located about 25th and O, and was THE place in Lincoln for about three years. Then PO Pears opened, the disco craze died, and it became several other things until now, where I think it is a place for childrens needs or something.
Good times!

Gary Hagan |

Wow, memories of a great time gone by. The Des Moines club gave birth to a band of guys named the "Boogie Boys," anyone recall any of those guys? They were "regulars" at Uncle Sam's in DM. All of them were waterskiiers and one of them had a boat called the Boogie Boat. If you were a girl lucky enough to ride in the Boogie boat, you were a primadonna! The only club I would ever consider to be a national treasure. There was a magic about Uncle Sam's that no bar/nightclub could ever match. I would love to have a Des Moines reunion.

Roger |

I worked at Uncle sams in des moines for tony grecko the GM and Rich Emery. Does anyone know whatt ever happend to them ? By the way Uncle samsd wasthe first Disco to bring drink specials into Des Moines other then two for ones.

john |

I forgot about the horny passes! I remember deejaying in Detroit in 1976 for a week. I never saw so many fights in my life! lol Jim Tupper would definitely remember me. He loved working in buffalo when we traded places. Can't say the same for the motor city though.


Does anyone know how to view e-mail from someone who responded to my post on this site? Can't figure it out. Also, where do we view photos submitted by members? Appreciate the help.

lionsfankh |

Just found, photos and copies of all the Ladies Night and Horney Passes we used to give out at Uncle Sam's Detroit!!! If I can figure out how I will scan and post! And John...i remember Jim Tupper!

John Zilliox |

Thanks Pete! Unfortunately, I missed an Uncle sams reunion here last year. they had one about 20 yrs ago. Someone has got all the slides, but apparently they didn't have them at the reunion. it would be nice to see some pics.

Pete Lancellotti |

Some of you have asked what am I doing now.. still in Knoxville (30 years now).
My web site is AirTraffic.com. I will be uploading numerous photos from many Uncle Sams clubs in the very near future.

Christopher L. |

Looking for Kevin who posted on Feb 19 2008. Hey, if you still have photos of Uncle Sam's in Redford, Michigan please send me some copies at CorpBuyers@aol.com Can't believe you stil have the music. Read my post on May 8 2007. Thanks. Christopher L.

Betsy |

I was a cocktail waitress at the Davenport, Ia Uncle Sam. Does anyone remember that we would dance on the speakers when they played the employee song? Good times!

* |

Chuck, you won't find Steve there anymore.

Steve McClellan hasn't been with First Ave (formerly "Sam's," "Uncle Sam's" and "The Depot") for over two years. He had ownership in the business and left after a bitter, drawn-out episode with one of the other owners.

Very sad, because he was, along with other staff, the person who made First Ave the landmark it became. But this is a disco forum and the club was disco before it morphed into First Avenue, so I'll return you now, dear reader, to your regular "disco-ssion"...

ChuckB |

It's fantastic to see great comments on the music especially the Disco era. The best thing about disco to me was it made me feel like I was part of it. A lot of people came to dance cause disco music made a lot of people dance, forget about sweating the the big stuff just sweat the body and mind. Maybe find a chick to spend the night or life together. I wish i had pictures their in my mind. I moved so many times in life that they got lost but my mind hopefully will keep them pics intact as long as the alcohol doesn't destroy it. Sure Miss those times. Thanks everyone!

Don't know of anyone from the Sams in Minneapolis, but Steve a former bartender has been the manager for 25+ years now. When I get back up there I plan a visit. Wonder if he will remember me? I still stick with music but just soundtracks too much of a perfectionist when it comes to disco. Forget Me nots... I'm Missin an Angel...

Peace Ya All!

Your Bartender and Projectionist Chuck.

john zilliox |

it would be great if you had photos. I hvae only a couple from those days in buffalo. I remember Jim Tupper from detroit. we switched places for a week. Check me out at http://worldssmallestdisco.com/_wsn/page3.html
This was a fundraiser I hadn't spun tunes in over 25 years and they wanted the dj from Uncle sams, so they called me and a few others from different clubs. Sure brought back memories. I remember when I was up there my first night and you told "you got them by the ****S and they'll do anything you want, it's your show." That stuck in my head to this day because I do alot of lecturing and when I'm up there it's stillmy show. Thanks again Pete.

john zilliox |

I can't believe it! Remember me? You trained me. You came into buffalo, cleaned house and made me the dj! I owe alot to you. Showed me how to run contests, mix the music. We used your name as a code when fights broke out. "Pete Lancelotti to the front door please" lmao! You're the best. When I left Sams in 78, I got a job at a better club, as Sams was kind of dying. They called me back a year later to Dj again but I refused. I'm a doctor now in Buffalo. Thanks again!! Never could have done it without you!

john zilliox |

I was the dj at Uncle Sams Buffalo from 1975-1978. Met my current wife there. Unbelievable! I think it closed in 1981. I was the first dj there when we introduced disco. 1500+ on oldies night with 25 cent drinks. I remember all those crazy specials. Still have a Firecracker glass. I use to do the commercials for it "over 4 shots, 22oz of TNT and glass is yours to keep. Only $3.50, Uncle Sams Firecracker"! HA! What a deal! But that was alot of money back then when you're only 18. I remember drink and drown vividly on wed. penny beers and 10 cent mixed drinks. I was up for corporate music director and worked the detroit club for a week in 1976. I was at Syracuse, Davenport, Boston..which was the last one built.
Our teen night was over 1000 kids. What a great time it was. They'll never be anything like it again. 18 and drinking! BTW..the yayayaya song, John Valby whose from Buffalo. He use to pack them in on Thursday night. John's about 60 now and still plays piano locally.

John C. |

Uncle Sam's now that was THE place to party during those college days like no other. Remember drink and drown Wednesdays? $2.50 get in with penny beers and nickel mixed drinks. Met lots of good people there. Glad I went there when I did (frequently.) I knew back then a place like that was too good to last forever.

Tim Leslie |

Let me try reposting that again. Nver had the pleasure of meeting you but enjoyed the great openings and song medleys you created. The original in-club ads wer excellent also. BTW ...does the "Ya Ya Song" or any of the medleys still exist?


Tim Leslie |


Nwvwe had the pleasure of meeying you but enjoyed alot of the stuff you originally did for the chain. Some og the openings were Fantastic!!!!! BTW....does the "YA YA Song" still exist?


Pete Lancellotti - "Dr. Boogie" |

Some of you may know mw or have met me. I worked at Uncle Sams before it was uncle sams! It started with The Scene in Syracuse in the late 60's. I have worked at just about every US in the country and opened up most of them as their entertainment director. Opening light and sound shows and even exploding flash boxes. I have many photos and will try to post some.

Tim Leslie |

Kevin- Thanks for the info. Is there anyway to get copies of some of your US stuff? BTW...Do you remember a couple of US DJ's from the Davenport club? One was Jim Chapman, later went on to be a big contributor for Disco Beats servce, the other was Disco Doug can't remember his last name.

lionsfankh |

Sorry, Tim. I don't have the NY promos. I have a few we made in house. Show openers and such. We made a few firecracker ads ouselves. We even had a drink called the TANK for a short while. I'll check with Rob (another former US DJ) to see if he has any of them.

Chuck B |

Them were the days..Living in Florida only cowboy bars and empty dancefloors...can't wait until the usa gets a hipper president....one that "can dance" a bit.....Earth Wind and Fire!...Disco Party!...Thanks Bernie For this Site!...Love Live Disco!...

Chuck B |

Anyways worked at Uncle Sams Mpls 76-77 Can't find anyone else that worked their. Bruce V here are Ya..

Tim Leslie |

kevin- Do you still have any of the pre mixed medlies that were layed at the US clubs? If I rmemeber correctly...there was a county medely (John Denver/Charlie daniels) a disco Tex set and a couple of others. Also iI remember the inclub preproduced ads for the Firecracker, Ladies night etc. I believe they were produced my a NY DJ pete Lancellotti

Kevin |

I can't believe I found this site! I used to be a DJ at Uncle Sam's in Detroit from 1977-1980. I left when it became NITRO. I have a few pictures I'll have to scan and post. The best times of my life were in that club. I still have all the music and even some old tapes of entire nights live at US. I've got stories for days! I hope to find some old friends,

Steve |

Used to hang out at the Davenport Sam's. we have been thinking about doing firecraker party. We have the glasses but need to know what goes in. Does anyone still have the recipe.

Al in Denver |

Hey Woody: What part/s; VODKA, GIN, TEQUILA, RUM, 7 UP, SOUR MIX AND GRENADINE for a firecracker? I'll make one up im my Firecracker glass.

Tami |

I remember Uncle Sam's Disco on East Kimberly Road in Davenport, Iowa. The guys were hot and the drink prices were, well, unlike the drink prices we see today! The dance floor was SO spacious and all we could was drink, dance and socialize. I remember the free glasses you would get, when you purchased the drink, "Firecracker". Then, a new era evolved and Uncle Sam's closed. I miss those free spirited days!

Tim Leslie |

What great memories Uncle Sam's brings back for me!!!!! From Sept of 1975 until 1979 the Davenport, Iowa club was my party of choice. I remember to this day the first time I walked in to party.

The music and the people truly mad the place great!!!

* |

Bob, you're thinking of Kevin Cole. I believe he's in Seattle these days.

Have you inquired with the club about photos? There are some general historic photos on the First Ave web site.

Bob Lewis |

Do you know how I would get a hold of Bruce V or anyone who may have spun records or did the projections work with photo,s at uncle sames back in 1978-1980 I thought there was a kevin that worked there as well. I am referring to the uncle sams in minneapolis. I am on a quest to find photo's etc... Please help me find the right people. email me back

Lee |

I loved going to Uncle Sam's at Telegraph and Schoolcraft back in 1975 to 1980. I had a friend that bartended there - Al K., that told me about the place. It was huge and had the massive lighted dance floor. The sound system and light show was great. I have several firecracker glasses packed away. There were lines outside waiting for it to open on weekends. I remember LaChambre's too. Would go there while waiting for Uncle Sam's to open (except when I was with a date). In Uncle Sam's there was a glass windowed section that you could sit that shielded the music if you wanted to talk without shouting. I used to order a drink called a "stinger" that was a shot with part "southern comfort" that you lit on fire before drinking. Songs that will always remind me of the place - "Get Down Tonight" KC & Sunshine Band, "Ballroom Blitz" Sweet, Rock & Roll All Night, Kiss, "Disco Inferno" Trammps, "Grooveline" Heatwave, "Fanny" Bee Gees. The waiters and waitresses would ramdomly give out cards for free drinks on future nights. Wild times for all who attended.

Al in Denver |

Met the chick, who became a wife, and had three kids with her. I STILL have a Firecracker glass. The legal age for drinking in Nebraska when was 19 for beer and liquor. What a wonderful time, after Vietnam and before aids.

Mary |

yeah, right?!?! can you believe it's the 30th anniversary of skinny-minny John Travolta in Sat. Night Fever????

tavares |

Downtown Minneapolis was a lot different then, especially Hennepin Avenue. A lot of University students went to Sam's to have fun. I had a collection of Firecracker glasses (along with others from Bullwinkles, Oscar B Lykes, and other fondly remembered establishments!) but probably unloaded all of them at a rummage sale years ago. I should have saved my disco-era polyester shirts, they'll be in style again some day.

Mary |

yes, we missed many a bus from downtown Uncle Sam's in Minneapolis, too, and danced all the way back up to the 2400 block of Nicollet Avenue -- oh, to be young again!!!! The firecrackers were great fuel, huh?!?!?

Woody |


Tavares |

Uncle Sams in Minneapolis was where we went to dance and get tanked! We'd hop on the bus from the U of M west bank campus, but sometimes we'd miss the last bus home from downtown and end up walking back to the dorm!

Steve |

I tended bar in 1976-77 at the US in Dewitt near Syracuse. I recall the fire cracker to be mostly OJ, lemon mixer and a swirl of grenadine with a shot of vodka maybe some rum, . If there was more than two OZ of EtOH in there I would be surprised. We used to chuckle at friends who would lose their dance legs after one of those. At best it would fill people up so they would not feel like eating breakfast at the Eggplant after last call.
Now.. the long island iced tea w/2oz smirnoff100proof, 2 shots Bacardi151proof and 1 shot of tanqueray gin and the restof the mixers, now that would melt your face off.
Cheers to the good old days.

Chris B |

mary, great memory, thats what I thought, about the shape of the glass, and i'm thinking Tequila and vodko, with a red mix of somesort. Does your roomate want to sell one of her glasses? I miss Uncle Sam's Des Moines, If I could only turn back time. A reunion of sorts. I have only one picture of the outside Uncle Sam's sign, and one picture of me in my Disco suit.(John Travolta) eat your heart out.

Mary |

well, Chris, my senility is setting in....either that, or I'm just getting my nightclub specialty drinks mixed up!! It for sure was a "Firecracker" that Uncle Sam's served up in an "hourglass" shaped stemmed glass -- "hurricanes" also come in that style, esp. in New Orleans. But I'll be danged if I can remember what was in them, they were a reddish color, fruity taste, and when we had the dough, we would try to make one last most of the night. My roommate still has her glass, too! (from 1976 -- yes!!)

chris |

yes, you are correct catusblue, on the corner of 19th and Carpenter. I hung out there from 1977 to to about 1980. I was friends with alot of people (mainly women) and danced till they closed at night. The only night I was not there was Sunday, and they weren't open. A good friend of mine bought off of eBay a Firecraker drink glass for my birthday last week, and we were trying to remember what liquids made up the drink. I miss the fun times there.

chris |

The uncle Sam's night club in Des Moines,Ia in the 70's and early 80's had a drink call "The Firecraker" does anyone remember what was in the drink?

ChuckB |

Wow Mary! you were years ahead of me! i can remember thou "jesse Brady" why dang..that was 20 years ago they came in after disco...its cool thou...gosh i miss most of all my Friends..not the club..really but yet it was common ground..very cool...i'm drinkin alot tonight to Celebrate..Music..sure wish i could jam out a tune....Thanks

ChuckB |

My Life best times were spent whats spent...but yet like dancing i cant find a dance anymore...its evolution? i sure hope that dancing music gets going in the US and the World again Bubbs...Burns...been awhile for sure...life is strange...Jim Morrison was right...Gosh i miss dancin...i drink to remember nowadays...the search well lets say its gone as theirs no disco in the House.

Mary |

My friends and I loved taking the bus downtown a few times a week to Uncle Sams in Minneapolis -- a great place to dance and party for poor students! My favorite memory was one night we were a little bummed because we wanted to hear our favorite band, "Jesse Brady", and instead they had a DJ -- but the "hurricanes" flowed and we started dancing. Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" came on, and of course we're all singing along, and when it comes to the famous part (where it changes from "opera" to "rock".....so you think you can stone me and spit in my eye.....) all of a sudden in a flashpot of lights, the Jesse Brady band takes over to belt it out! we were oblivious to them setting up on stage and they just blew us away!!! still have the goose bumps.......

Henry Timberlake |

1973 to 1976 Uncle Sam's and Barney Googles was the greatest place to dance, listen to rock music via great sound systems and to witness superb light shows in the dance floor and above. All controled by D.J.'s . What a great era and to be in college! Anyone that enjoyed Uncle Sam's in Knoxville email me. I am looking for photos taken of the interior.

Chuck B |

Bernie! Thanks Disco Lives!!

Chuck B |

dance dance dance.......

The Grimms |

While reading these, and Christopher L. talked about Uncle Sams changing hands I remembered ours in Des Moines changed to "The Lite". They tried to keep things the same but, "The Joker" in Des Moines took over. They had a genre of rooms. One room was LIVE ROCK AND ROLL, One was a Movie theater and the BEST was the Disco Room it had of course "The Lighted Dance floor" and all! This place was HUGE!! I like when dance floor are in the middle of a room so all can sit around and enjoy. Boy, they dont make them like that anymore. Of course they dont make music like that anymore. It was such a big deal of what to wear, and we ran in herds and not just with one friend. And there were always "After Bar Parties" A friend of our named Mark always opened his house to us all. I feel for the kids today and the pressures they have to fit in. But the big difference is, everyone we ran with worked everyday and kept a job, the trend I am seeing is job hopping and everybody complains they are broke. I guess we all have and HAD priorities. And it didnt seem people were as easy back then, I think the term meat market came AFTER Disco. But Disco is not as lost as Uncle Sams, it was just fine tuned to the word "dance music" And Line dances are now done by country dancers but not with the flare in the 70's and 80's

Cindy |

I went to the Uncle Sam's in Davenport, Iowa just about every night. It was THE place to go in this area. I recently was going through some old boxes and found 17 Firecracker glasses! What memories that brought back. I remember all the dance contests(I was in some). There just are not any places like that anymore. There is a group called "The Travolta's" that plays in this area about 3 times a year. They play all the disco music. It's just like being at Uncle Sam's!!

Christopher L. |

Starting in 1978 when I was 19 years old, my friends and I would go to the Uncle Sams located at 14060 Telegraph Road in Redford, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. If anyone has a photo of this Uncle Sam's, interior or exterior, please post it or send it to me! It was located in a strip mall on the north-east corner of Telegraph and the I-96 freeway; i.e. Schoolcraft Road. In the timeframe between 1978 and 1980 I took and met a lot of girls to Uncle Sams. The last time I was there was in 1980. They changed the name to Nitros some time after that. Uncle Sams had a raised, plastic dance floor with a square pattern on it. Each square would light up a different color and the lights would go on and off. Sometimes it was a little difficult to walk or dance on because of the blinking lights and at times you had no depth perception as to where the floor in relation to your feet, especially since we were wearing our platform shoes! I remember they also had an area where you could play pinball if you didnt feel like dancing. After the movie "Saturday Night Fever" came out in December 1977, Uncle Sams played mostly (if not all) disco music I can distinctly remember dancing to songs like Boogie Oogie Oogie by Taste of Honey and the Bee Gees Stayin Alive and Night Fever. Sometimes Id go with my buddies and if we struck out at Uncle Sams we would leave and go next door to La Chambre, a topless bar that, amazingly enough, is still open as of 2007. The old Uncle Sams is now a night club called Mister Niks Dance Club. Ive attached a photo of Mister Niks in the shopping mall where Uncle Sams once stood 27 years ago. What memories that brings back of the some great times we all had there, especially in the Summer of 78! I'll be turning 50 next year and I can say that those where some of the best times of my life!

Elliott Bettman |

I went to the Redford Uncle Sam's at 17 and ten months years old as part of high school graduation celebrations with some acquaintances I had met at Senior HS Trip in Nassau. Mom wasnt too happy about it G-d rest her soul b/c I was "running around underage!" but then even when 65 one is underage to one's mother (plus "youll cross the double yellow line from too many firecrackers an DIE!! the bullies will get you (probably) the predatory homos will get you youll get into bar fights over chicks!" will let you guess on the ethnicity...ANYHOO...had just seen Saturday Night Fever "date" with mom while Dad did taxes. They said "you pick up girls like crazy!" had a firecracker no dances for me got in using friends older brothers ID left and then couldnt get in again.

Parents wouldnt let me go again until 24 1/2 socially retarded med student back from hostile foreign country MEXICO!! and I made a stink about wanting a life which I STILL DO NOT HAVE!!

Did NOT know they were so OLD and a chain! rumors they encouraged drugs etc.

Redford Uncle Sam's became "Nitros" then something else then a store again.

La Chambre topless still next door after all these years...AROOoooo!!

the Detroit hood next door is not good.

diane |

Detroit's Uncle Sams Nightclub opened around 1972 in Redford,on corner of Telegraph and Schoolcraft. This place was HUGE! It had been a "chain" grocery store.I started going with friends in 73, when "legal" was 18...My favorite was Tequila Night. All Tequila drinks were 25 cents! We had cups stacked halfway to the ceiling. I went numerous times during the week:Wednesdays,Thursdays,Fridays, Saturdays,and Sundays, too! The dance floor was plexi, with flashing lights, disco balls, smoke, a huge TV scenes that flashed slides of customers having a Fun time. Dj played spun records all night, with a drummer to give us the beat. I think Uncle Sams closed around 1977...I had a lot of fun going back in the day. Anybody remember Diane, Barb, Marlene, Connie, or "the Kevins"?

The Grimms |

My husband and I met ther 30 years ago and celebrate our 25th Wedding anniversary this week. They dont make clubs like Uncle Sams anymore. We have soo many memories and TONS of photos. I went there recently and it a welfare office now. I walked through and there is not a trace of the good ol' days.
DISCO "that where the happy people go" As Pete Wilson the DJ would play!!

Tim Shaw |

I worked at an Uncle Sam's from 1975 to 1980. Disco was king, faded and then punk came in. Just an outstanding era

CactusBlue |

Uncle Sam's in Des Moines opened around February 1975; if memory serves, it was the first true disco in Des Moines (the Joker was probably the most popular, but Uncle Sam's was not far behind). Not too far east of the Drake University campus, in a building that used to be a Katz drugstore, it always attracted a very young crowd, and the truth is, a LOT of us were underage. I went there several times in late summer/early fall 1978. I turned 18 around that time, my boyfriend, who looked 21 because he was 6'4" and 220 lbs., was only 15.

I vividly remember a "TGIF" dance contest with couples dancing to music from the movie. To this day, whenever I hear "Hey....put a smile on your face...", I picture that night, sitting in the booth with my boyfriend drinking a Firecracker. It was still open in 1979 when I left Des Moines, but the neighborhood where Uncle Sam's was located was deteriorating badly, and of course, there was the backlash. It was gone when I returned to Des Moines in early 1981. I miss the feeling discos had; the dance clubs now just don't have that "take you away to another place and time" feeling.

* |

Actually, the 7th Street Entry is a small side room to the main club formerly known as Uncle Sam's, then just "Sam's" and now (for over 20 years) First Avenue.

photo here: http://www.phototour.minneapolis.mn.us/2445


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