Wednesday, June 22, 2011
For Bostonians of a certain age - like me - Blinstrub's was a name like Jordan Marsh or Anthony's Pier 4. Even if you never went there, you knew the name, and you knew that it was a big deal. Would today's newcomers to the city guess that Boston's leading nightclub through the post-World War II era was located in South Boston.
Stanley Blinstrub was the son of a Lithuanian immigrant. The family moved from Staten Island to Brighton when Stanley was three. After school and working various jobs, Stanley opened a restaurant on the corner of Broadway and D street in South Boston. In 1934, the restaurant would be reopened as a nightclub. In 1952, the decision was made to book big name acts.
While baby boomers (like me) and the following generations may think of the 1950s as the time of Elvis and the birth of rock and roll, the stars of the day, who filled seats at Blinstrubs were the pop singers and show business staples of the day like Patti Page, Wayne Newton, Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr. The club continued packing in crowds into the 1960s. Diana Ross suffered a notorious on-stage meltdown when performing with the Supremes at Blinstrub's.
A fire in February of 1968 destroyed the building, ending 35 years of success on the site. Blinstrub's Old Colony restaurant survived for years in Dorchester, a reminder of a time when the name Blinstrub's was the leader in Boston entertainment.