The Scarlet Coat
19a Union Street (basement exit in Fiennes Court off Fairfax Street), BS1. c. 1984-90.
The earliest known reference is in Bristol Gay Switchboard day book; in January 1984 the Scarlet Coat was being run as a restaurant by two gay women, with women-only discos every Thursday and Saturday night. The transformation from restaurant to full-time club must have happened shortly afterwards.
The owners were a couple called Jane and Bernie. Jane was said to have previously served in the Hong Kong Police. You generally entered it from a doorway in Union Street and went downstairs. The exit was at the back into a courtyard off Fairfax Street. It was one room with about four rectangular tables with benches on one side, one or two round tables and chairs on the other side with the dance floor in the middle. In 1994 the same premises were occupied by a gay club called Just.
Unfortunately it was next door to a straight strip club (the She Club) and one night in 1989 some of the male customers from the strip club began an unprovoked physical attack on lesbians leaving the club via the Fairfax Street exit. Jane and some other women went to defend the women who were being attacked but were overwhelmed by the men and some of them, Jane included, ended up in hospital. I think it closed shortly after the attack.