Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona, just for fun. Advertising-free, supported by my patrons on Patreon. Thank you!

Gay Denny's, 7th Street and Camelback Road, Phoenix, Arizona


I was getting a haircut yesterday, and in the course of casual conversation, the young woman (she's in her thirties, but everyone looks about twelve to me nowadays) who was cutting my hair mentioned that she grew up in Phoenix. I told her about my interest in Phoenix history, and found out that her parents had grown up in Phoenix, too. I've lived in Phoenix for a long time, and true born-and-raised in Phoenix people are still pretty rare. So we talked about Phoenix, and I could tell, yep, she knew Phoenix the way that only a local would know it.

When I mentioned that I had moved to Phoenix when I was nineteen, she asked me to exactly whereabouts. I hesitated, and then I asked a question that everyone who is a Phoenix local knows. Did she know where Gay Denny's is? Of course she did. And if you know, well, it doesn't mean you're gay, it just means you know Phoenix in the same way that people refer to Chicken Park in Glendale.

Now waitaminute, calm down here if you've never heard of this. This isn't homophobia. I support the gay community, and always have. The fact that I accidentally got an apartment in an area that is part of the "gayborhood" meant nothing to me. When I found out, by people telling me, I found it to be kinda funny. I lived over by Lopers, you know, not far from the Cheetah Club. If you know Phoenix, you know what I'm talking about.

Talking about Phoenix this way reminds me of how I learned my neighborhood in Minneapolis as a kid on a bike. We knew where things were, not the street names, or points on a compass. And while I'll never see 50 again, I'll always have the attitude of a kid, and the need to feel comfortable the way that a kid knows the back alleys and bike trails of their 'hood.

By the way, go ahead and Google "Gay Denny's Phoenix". I'll wait. I just did it, and sure enough the listing for the Denny's at 5002 N. 7th Street comes up on Google. I got the photo at the top of this post from that listing.

I didn't grow up in Phoenix, but it's my home. I went away for several years, to seek my fame and fortune in Los Angeles, and never found it. When I returned to Phoenix, it was a wonderful feeling, and I often describe it as "putting on an old jacket that just fits". I wasn't born and raised in Phoenix, but I consider myself a "born again local". I like it here.

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2 comments:

  1. Just today (6-2019) I went to the Gay Dennys with a sexually fluid young man. I won't see 60 again and have long left the gay subculture to married life in the suburbs (a man and a dog in a tract house - what more can anyone want?). But I go the Catholic Church on Central (run by the Jesuits and gay friendly, which is a big deal because I was rejected by 3 other Phoenix Catholic Churches merely for admitting that I am gay). Anyway, I actually didn't know this was the Gay Dennys to show you how out-of-touch I am. When I moved here with my husband 15 years ago, our GAY realtor gave us a gay tour. I remember we drove by the Gay Dennys. Never went there until today. There I was, a silver haired slender man in his 60's with a quite handsome young man from Church who likes to discuss theology and Catholic history (no lie). We wait for a table, and a wolf pack of gay men come in behind us. One of them is absolutely gorgeous - gay porn gorgeous. Black hair and deep blue eyes and a beard with the classic slender nose that Aryan lovers adore. He looked right through me and locked eyes with my young friend. Of course, being in my 60's, I am accustomed to being invisible to gay men. And since I am not hunting (those days are long gone) I didn't care, although this gorgeous man's denial of my existence did confirm my age and invisibility. We were shown a table and I noticed several couples around us, perhaps trysts from the night before? Mr. Drop Dead Gorgeous was still starring at my table mate, who was polite enough to ignore him completely. Nothing is more demeaning than being with someone who is cruising and making you feel like a piece of furniture. At that moment I wondered if this was the world famous GAY DENNYS. Came home and found your blog. Next time, I will put forth the attitude of a rich older gay man who can easily allure a handsome young dude into his cherished company. Eat your heart out, gorgeous young man who looked through me. He's mine! LOL

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    1. Hi Will - I enjoyed all of your comments on the blog posts. And it's REALLY nice not for them not to be spam - I get a lot of that. Anyway, glad you found history adventuring. I look at a lot of things from a different point of view than my own, and find it fascinating, and it makes me happy, and more comfortable in the city that I love - Phoenix!

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