The Troy Street Observer

May 22, 1955: The Legendary Latin Quarter Closes

On May 22, 1955, an era in Boston nightlife ended when the Latin Quarter closed its doors for the last time.

The Latin Quarter (46 Winchester Street) packed a lot of nightlife history into its 16-plus years, none more fascinating than its last chapter, from October 1952 to May 1955. That was the era of Rocco “Rocky” Palladino, a character with a cloudy past, a stable of race horses, and a history of run-ins with the Boston Licensing Board.

Photo of Christine Jorgensen
Christine Jorgensen: The Boston Licensing Board had it in for her

The BLB forced Palladino to close another of his clubs, the College Inn, for putting female impersonators on stage in 1952. That was illegal in Boston, and had been since 1948. I’m sure the BLB was less than pleased to see Palladino back in action at the Latin Quarter.

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Jan 20, 1953: Ol’ Blue Eyes Opens at Latin Quarter

Frank Sinatra opened for 10 days at the Latin Quarter on January 20, 1953; it was his only Boston nightclub engagement as a single. The Latin Quarter, on Winchester Street, was the top night spot in town, and just the place for Sinatra on his comeback trail. Backed by Larry Green’s band, Sinatra sang his current hit, “Birth of the Blues,” and songs from Porgy and Bess. Sinatra enjoyed his time in Boston, hanging around Storyville, where the Ellington Orchestra was playing, and filling a shift on WORL-AM radio, reading commercials and spinning records. It was during this engagement that Sinatra learned he’d play Maggio in the film From Here to Eternity; he won the acadamy award for best supporting actor for it.
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