In 1971, Petie Brown, a trumpeter and young lesbian, got a part-time bartending job at Jack's A Go-Go to support her aspiring singing career. Word spread fast that a lesbian was behind the bar, and soon Jack's began attracting lesbian women in scores. Petie left the bar along the way, but the word was out, and the bar's owners welcomed the lesbian patrons. When the bar came up for sale 10 years later, Petie rounded up every penny she had and bought it. In 1980 she renamed it Summit Station, established it as a safe space for lesbians and friends, and thus was born Ohio's longest running lesbian bar. As Petie tells it, it was one of the first three lesbian bars in the United States. Forty-two years after the opening of the bar, a small group of former patrons banded together to pay tribute to Petie and the bar. In partnership with the Ohio History Connection, a historical marker will be placed permanently in front of the space that held Summit Station.
The marker will be dedicated on June 10, 2023. We are raising funds to cover the cost of the marker, placement of the marker, festivities to mark the occasion and ultimately, a documentary film project to properly tell the story for future generations. The space is currently occupied by The Summit Music Hall and the owners of the current bar have generously offered to hold a reunion of new and old Summit Station patrons.
Free Beer Tomorrow is a documentary film project that tells the story of Jack's/Summit Station, Ohio's longest running lesbian bar. With interviews from Peter Brown — a classically trained musician turned bar owner — to pioneering LGBTQ+ lawyer and legal scholar, Rhonda R. Rivera, and former patrons running the gamut of tap dancers, professional women's football players, feminist activists, bartenders and drag kings, the film explores lesbian culture in an era where bars were one of the few safe-havens from an oppressive and homophobic world.
Summit Station touched so many lives. Let's tell the world how much it meant to all of us.
If you would like to be interviewed for the film and/or an Oral History project, please let us know by filling out this form.
Back Row: Julia Applegate, Sharon Huber, Judy Huber, LuSter Singleton
Front Row: Petie Brown and CJ Curtis
Happy New Year!! It's 2024 and only 9 months untl a rough cut of Free Beer Tomorrow screens in Columbus. We are still collecting funds to help us pay for professional editing, sound design, color correction, etc. Every dollar helps! Thank you much. J and L