Grace's Little Belmont
Across the street from Club Harlem, at 37 N. Kentucky Avenue, was Grace’s Little Belmont. It was owned by Hernan Daniels and his wife, Grace, from the mid-1930s through the 1970s. Prior to marrying Hernan, Grace owned and operated Grace’s Beauty and Barber Shop at 43 Kentucky Avenue. She and Hernan married during World War II and moved into the apartment above the barber shop. Grace Daniels was known to be an effective business woman, running the club in addition to her barbershop and beauty salon.
Grace’s Little Belmont had a symbiotic relationship with Club Harlem – patrons criss-crossed Kentucky Avenue, swapping bar stools at Club Harlem for those at Grace’s Little Belmont and vice versa. In addition to sharing patrons, the two clubs often shared performers. Wild Bill Davis, who frequently played Club Harlem, was a featured performer at Grace’s in the summertime. His band, the Wild Bill Davis Swing Organ Quartet, recorded two live albums at Grace’s, one in 1966 and another in 1967.
Though it was smaller than Club Harlem, Grace’s boasted a great atmosphere and performers. Inside the club a horseshoe-shaped bar was tended by Elvera “Baby” Sanchez. Sanchez is famously known as the mother of Sammy Davis Jr. She died in the year 2000 at the age of 95. While Club Harlem was famous for its breakfast shows, Grace’s Little Belmont was known for its matinee performances. Seeking respite from the sun, beachgoers would abandon the sand for a few hours to have a drink and listen to music. Workers finishing their night shifts at the 500 Club and Paradise Club would often walk to Grace’s after work to see the afternoon shows.
Like the other clubs and stores that lined Kentucky Avenue, Grace’s Little Belmont was not immune to the economic decline that Atlantic City suffered in the late 1960s through the 1970s. Grace’s suffered a similar fate as Club Harlem, Wonder Gardens, and Paradise Club and its doors were shuttered.
Resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library Atlantic City Heritage Collections:
Local History Subject File – Nightclubs - Grace’s Little Belmont