The Millstone Tavern

Written By: Joyce  DeCordova


By Joyce DeCordova

The time was the ’60’s and The Millstone Tavern was a naughty place. Located in

Noyac opposite the now defunct race track, it was the first gay bar in the

Hamptons. Straights were allowed in (there was a bouncer at the door) but

basically they provided cover for the gay men who came there mainly from the city.

Being gay was a definite no-no then, but, if you were gay,  The Millstone Tavern

was your kind of place. You could speak freely, dance, drink and pick up or not.

The Tavern was built on sand and looked like a bunker which, given the

unfriendliness of the locals, was probably a good idea. It was approximately 30×80

feet. The floor was a cement slab, it had a flat roof and the sides were made of

cinderblock.  It had no aesthetics except for the bar which was30 feetlong and

made of mahogany plus a jukebox and a mirror ball. It had two bathrooms,

although the girl’s bathroom was hardly necessary and rarely used.

Men would dance together to the music of the jukebox and since there were

straights at the Tavern, they also had line dancing led by the owner’s sister.

Everyone did the Hully Gully and rocked and rolled until the wee hours. The music

was loud, but that was okay. There were no other houses on the road.  It was

nowhere and yet there were nights when you were turned away because of the

crowds. Being nowhere gave it privacy and because it was in the middle of an

unlit & deserted road  miles from town,  It felt like a place where anything could

happen… and it did.

So how did my mother arrive at the Millstone? At the place where anything could

happen? My husband bought it in the 80’s and used it mainly for storage. He

bought and sold estates back then and needed a place. When we got together in

the early 90’s, we decided to convert the Tavern into a home.  We put down

porcelain tile floors (2200 square feetof it). We made a kitchen, put in fireplaces

and an 8ft high wrought iron door was placed in front. The sand outside was

mixed with wood chips and stones were laid, bushes were planted and we moved

in…the three of us.  My husband and I and my 90 year old mother. I was her only

child, so where ever I went, she went.  She had lived in the city her entire life and

we brought her to “nowhere” but that was okay with her because she was with

me and that made her feel happy and secure.  I was still working then and I was

staying in the City three days a week. That left my husband with my mom. He

loved her and the feeling was mutual and, knowing that she was unused to

country living and being somewhat frightened by the isolation of it all (“Where

were the cars? Don’t people walk around here?” It’s so quiet here, I can’t sleep”),

he stayed at the house as much as he could while I was away. But there were

times when he had to go out.

Sometimes he would take her, sometimes not. The day of the pink Cadillac

convertible was one of those days when he left her at home alone.

He told her he would be back within the hour.  He was always apprehensive when

he left her alone because she was beginning to get forgetful, and saying someone

called on the phone when they didn’t or forgetting to turn off the burner on the

stove, so he hurried back and asked her if anything had happened while he was

gone. There were no calls she said, but she did have a visit. Four Japanese men in

black suits driving a pink Cadillac convertible came by. They were lost and asked if

they could use the phone and she let them in. “Oh boy” he thought, this is the

beginning of the end. She’s really losing it. She’s becoming delusional. He called

me at work and told me about it. He was concerned and so was I. We spoke about