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Curtain Closes on Pennant East Nightclub

By Chris Concannon

Gloucester City News


After decades in the music business, the curtain came down for the last time at the Pennant Garage Doors tower AD East Nightclub on Sunday September 11.

  The club operated as Dick Lee’s from its opening in 1956 by the club’s original namesake, until Lee sold the business in 1992.

  It then became the Pennant East, and the booking of musical acts became more localized, where sometimes national artists performed under its former moniker.

  The final Sunday performances, billed as “Pennantpalooza,” presented a day-long stream of some of the club’s recurring bands, consisting of Formerly Known As, Please, Please Me, Split Decision, The Loop and The Rockets.

  One of the last of the South Jersey area’s locales where patrons could go to hear live original and cover bands, the Pennant now joins the ranks of those who have gone before it, such as the Coral Reef, Di Salvio’s and the Finish Line, all of Bellmawr, Bogey’s/Private Eyes in Brooklawn, Chicago’s/Fiddlehead of Runnemede, along with the Cherrywood Lounge in Gloucester Township.

  Only the Cherrywood Lounge and Pennant buildings are still standing.

  The rest have long since


 been torn down, with the exception of the Coral Reef in Bellmawr, which was completely destroyed in an August 2004 fire.

  Feelings about the closing are as varied as the clientele who patronized the club over its 55-year history.

  According to sources, several altercations broke out over the years, prompting the intervention of local law enforcement.

  The soon-to-be former owners of the Route 130 establishment are currently defending a lawsuit stemming from reports of exceeding the rated occupancy for the building.

  Sources also indicate that they will retain possession of their liquor license, but are not mandated to keep it in Bellmawr.

  It is unclear, though, if or when the owners will re-surface.

  For now, the music has stopped and the doors have closed.