Historic St. Andrews Beach
From 1959 to 1966, the Dolphin Club Lounge provided lively entertainment for visitors to the historically black St. Andrews Beach.
Juke joints like this one once stretched across the southeastern United States. On remote Jekyll Island, the Dolphin Club Lounge provided African Americans with their own community gathering place to eat, drink, and socialize during segregation.
This cozy little nightclub offered dining and entertainment options for beach-goers. It featured a lobby, kitchen, public and private dining rooms, dance floor, small stage, bar, and rooftop patio. Remembered by local patrons as a classy nightclub, it showcased many top black entertainers of the era.
A big draw for the popular nightspot was its music. Doo-wop, rhythm & blues, soul, and rock & roll all found a home here, aided by concert promoter Charlie Cross. Crowds packed the lounge to join in the excitement, dancing, and live entertainment.
From the beginning, the Dolphin Club Lounge offered performances by local house bands, like the Swinging Turbans and the Doves. The lounge also attracted an impressive array of famous musicians touring on the Chitlin Circuit, including B.B. King, Clarence Carter, Millie Jackson, and Percy Sledge.
Today, the former Dolphin Club site continues to serve up entertainment
through its 4-H programs.
On the Chitlin Circuit
The Dolphin Club Lounge is largely remembered for the popular music it drew to Jekyll Island, as part of the Chitlin Circuit.
The Chitlin Circuit was a string of black owned nightclubs that flourished primarily in the South, during the time of segregation. These clubs provided safe places for traveling black entertainers to perform for black audiences.
The traveling circuit attracted many legendary musical pioneers, whose performances gave rise to the sounds of rhythm and blues, soul, and rock and roll.
While it lasted, the Chitlin Circuit offered a platform for hundreds of black musicians to play and earn a living.
In its time, the Chitlin Circuit formed an important part of black culture and left behind a tremendous legacy of splendid music for all.