Barney Gordon’s Saloon

Barney Gordon’s was located in South Philly at Kater and 13th Streets. In her autobiography, Philadelphia Walk of Famer Ethel Waters wrote:

Barney hired me, and after I’d sung two nights at his place he offered me a steady job at fifteen dollars a week. I sang there six nights a week and on Thursday afternoons. Servant girls and houseworkers had that afternoon off, and they’d come to Barney Gordon’s to drink and relax. We called them “the Thursday girls.”


Barney Gordon’s saloon was on the ground floor. We entertained, though, in a big room upstairs where the customers sat at tables. There was only a two-piece band. Toots Moore, the drummer, and a piano player who could play only in two keys.

Ethel Waters’ autobiography, His Eye is on the Sparrow, is available at

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