From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Alcohol Not Served to Women at Bars [Frankie E. Maxwell]

In January of 1952, there were three arrests: Miss Frankie E. Maxwell, owner of the Top Hat Tavern in Louisville, KY, and her bartenders Lloyd A. Phillips and George Smith. Each was charged with selling cocktails to females at the bar. The Kentucky Law § 2554b-188, which had been in effect since 1938, stated that, "[N]o distilled spirits or wine shall be sold, given away or served, on premises licensed under this Act for the sale of alcoholic beverages at retail for consumption on the premises, to females, except at tables where food may be served." Maxwell, Phillips and Smith were charged a reduced fine of $100 each for the offenses, but their attorney asked for the $300 fine so that the cases could be appealed. In 1974, § 2554b-188 was repealed.

Frankie E. Maxwell was born in 1902 in Cadiz, KY. In 1950, she was the owner of the Top Hat Tavern, as enumerated in the U.S. Census. She had been a teacher in Evansville, IN. She had been a dancer in the 1920s and 1930s she recounted in an interview in 1986. She had danced with Bubbles Sublett and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. In 1938, she had applied for a license to sale beer. A picture of Frankie E. Maxwell and four of her waitresses are on p.18 of the The Courier-Journal, 10/08/1978. Frankie E. Maxwell died April 5, 1992. 

For more see "Frankie Maxwell ...," The Courier-Journal, Section 2, 09/10/1938, p.10B; "Café manager fined for serving drinks to women at bar," The Louisville Defender, 01/05/1952, vol. 18, issue 41, front page & p. 2; 244.320 Females to be served only at tables [Repealed, 1974]; Joan Kay, "83-year-old to share memories of old Walnut Street's Top Hat," The Courier-Journal, Section D, 06/13/1985, p.6; "Dance pioneer John Bubbles is dead at 84," The Courier-Journal, 05/20/1986, p.6; "Gerald A. Ryan, "At 88, Frankie Maxwell finally gets serious about her retirement," The Courier-Journal, 04/07/1990, p.9; Frankie Elizabeth Maxwell in "Louisville Area Deaths," The Courier-Journal, 04/09/1992, pp.A9 & A12.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Trigg County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Cadiz, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Louisville defender (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Courier-Journal [Louisville] (newspaper)
NKAA Entry: Sublett, John William "Bubbles"

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Alcohol Not Served to Women at Bars [Frankie E. Maxwell],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 24, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-05-30 16:58:14