Bar of Music
136 North Center Street
1946 - 1951

Jim Rauzy
Grade 4

The Bar of Music was one of several small clubs that featured dining, dancing, entertainment, and some gambling. It first opened in December 1945 with no gambling. The owners, Sam Erlich, Harry Short, and George Johnson, were granted a gaming license early in 1946. They instituted an active newspaper advertising campaign early in the year, and after a good business had been built, they sold the club in July to Harry Sherwood and Joseph Skoff of San Francisco, for $150,000.

In December 1946 Sherwood and Skoff traded the property to Denny and S. M. Wood and Fred Wilkins for a casino on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe called Tahoe Village.

On September 17, 1947, Harry Sherwood was shot to death by his then-partner in the Tahoe Village, Louie Strauss. First accounts on the shooting in local newspapers treated it as just another local homicide, until it was revealed that Sherwood was a one-time partner of Tony Stralla, a well-known West Coast gaming figure, and Strauss was the notorious "Russian Louie" of eastern gangland fame.

Meanwhile, M. L. "Harry" Broody had purchased the Bar of Music in April 1947 and had been granted a gaming license for one keno game, one 21 game, one craps game, one roulette game, and twenty slot machines.

In May 1948 Brody rented one room of the property to Walter Chinn and Silk Mar. They opened a restaurant called the Confucius Room. This operation was a failure, and Brody had to sue Chinn and Mar to get his rent money.

On January 18, 1949, Harry Brody was arrested for possession of narcotics. It was then revealed that Brody had an extensive criminal record. One week later, he withdrew his application to renew his gambling license, and the Bar of Music closed. On December 31, 1949, Harry Brody was sentenced to three years in prison. His good behavior resulted in his early (July 1951) release, but on November 28, 1951, he was again arrested for narcotics possession. He was again sentenced to prison, this time for five years.

In later years, many clubs operated at the Bar of Music's address, including Beery's, O'Brien's Corner, the Trade Winds, the Roaring Twenties, Buddy Baer's, and Freddy's Lair.

The Bar of Music seemed to put a curse on its owners. One of the first owners, Sam Erlich, killed himself on May 25, 1947. He was only forty-five years old but was reported to have been in ill health. And as previously mentioned, Harry Sherwood was shot and killed by "Russian Louie" Strauss, and Harry Brody was plagued by a narcotics addiction and served a great deal of his adult life in prison.

As of 1991 the former location of the Bar of Music was a section of the Cal-Neva's parking garage on the east side of Center Street.

According to Dwayne Kling