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Laguna Beach

 Volume 14, Issue 76  |  September 23, 2022

Celebrating the life of artist Jim Nelson, the man behind the success of Laguna’s only gay bar

On August 28, Laguna lost artist Jim Nelson, who kept the vision of Main Street Bar and Cabaret (now The Anchor Line Bar) alive. 

His sister Wendy joined him in the venture several years ago. “I came to Laguna 8.5 years ago to help my family in need,” Wendy said. “One of these undertakings was taking over the last gay bar in Laguna Beach. My brother Jim bought the bar to save what was left of Gay Laguna. I carried it on, watched it thrive and be loved and discriminated against, and saw people meet and get married.” 

Wendy chronicles her brother’s life.

Jim Nelson was born in Orange County, third generation in fact. He attended Webb School, Sunny Hills High School and college in Tacoma, Wash. Nelson lived in Italy, traveled worldwide exploring – as well as gaining subjects and incredible ideas for his art, its magic seen by many. 

A stint in San Francisco saw him as head of marketing for two prominent gay resorts in Guerneville, starting his Mr. Berry’s Pie Company, and serving as disc jockey on the side at some of the Bay Area’s best events and clubs. His sisters Jeanne (deceased) and Wendy couldn’t have had a better big brother, who was filled with love and caring for his family, parents and friends. He was predeceased by his parents as well. 

As a young artist, Nelson grew up in a studio. His father was a ceramist and businessman and his mother a travel agent with Warren Imports, and also a sculptress, painter and accomplished artist of equine subjects. He loved design and attended Art Center after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree (pre-law). 

However, art took over and his ensuing work included many banners, flags, T-shirts, and paintings seen around town in collections and venues. He also received nationwide awards for art campaigns in the family business. His artistic gift to Laguna was the winning design of the lifeguard tower for the Laguna Beach Police Department patch. It’s been changed slightly since then, but the commendation remains. His amazing yard and gate were featured in the LA Times Home and Garden Gate Tour and his garden was once part of the Laguna Beach Garden Club Gate & Garden Tour. 

Residents are invited to come in for a sendoff through October. The Anchor Line Bar is located at 1460 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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