Babcia’s Closet: Markiewicz was one of many females running local gin mills

(by Gregory Witul) When people think of East Side gin mills in Buffalo, most people think of them as the men’s domain. They are perceived as ill-lit rooms, with a pool table or dartboard, three or four regulars smoking and drinking, while a gruff or light hearted guy tends the bar. But this is a major misconception.

Women could not only hold their own on the patrons’ side of the bar, but the bartenders’ side as well. In places like Al’s Inn, Helen Cymerman worked the day shift behind the bar while Al was off and at Banjo’s Hotel, Jane Pietrzak handled the regulars while Ben checked guests in. Of all these female bartenders/owners few worked as hard and as long as tavern owner and operator, Angeline Markiewicz of Club Polka.

Markiewicz was born Angeline Zamborowski on June 11, 1913 in Detroit, MI. There she met and married Frank Markiewicz. In the early 1950s the couple made their way to Buffalo, purchasing a tavern at 775 William St. in 1952.

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