By Ben Cartwright | Back Out With Benny
In the May edition of this column, I wrote about the importance of “our bars, connecting and community.” I discussed why LGBT bars continue to be very important spaces for the community; as safe places to gather, socialize, connect, and raise funds and support for important issues. And every time we lose one of these spaces, it feels like a piece of our community is lost.
It was just announced that Numb3rs San Diego, a nightclub on Park Boulevard on the border of Hillcrest and North Park, will close permanently on Sept. 10.
For at least 20 years, Numbers has served as a place for the community to dance, drink, socialize, learn, and raise funds for numerous causes. The club, which includes two separate rooms, has probably played host to the most diverse line-up of events in town, including Latin nights, Club Sabbat gothic night, Bear Night, harness/kink nights, drag shows and so much more. I personally have attended countless ceremonies, pageants, and even a local horror film festival at Numbers.
In fact, tonight [Sept. 1], in the club’s second-to-last weekend, one side of the building will feature the popular Latin-themed “Tropical Nights” with the Manny Cepeda Orquestra, while the other room will have a special event called “Diaper Palooza” — which speaks to the diversity of events that happen in this space.
As the world and tastes change, it is unlikely that a space like Numbers will ever exist again.
In the time since I’ve been over age 21, I’ve seen numerous LGBT bars and clubs close in San Diego, and it hurts equally, each time. I remember attending closing night parties for spaces like Universal, Eden, and 1202 (those three were all in the same location that now partially houses Gossip Grill), along with Bacchus House, Bourbon Street, Wolf’s (which eventually became Re-Bar before closing permanently and becoming the current Bluefoot), Top of the Park, and Club Montage (now Spin). Each of these places were special in their own way, and each played a unique role in the community.
While we’re lucky to still have a fairly vibrant LGBT nightlife scene in San Diego with thriving spaces like Rich’s, Urban MO’s, Babycakes, Flicks, Pecs, The Caliph, and many more, our options for places to gather as a community continues to dwindle.
Some suggest that it’s part of the evolution of our equality, arguing that there is less need for LGBT bars as “we can go anywhere now.”
Unfortunately, as legal protections are extended to our community (at least in the state of California), it’s clear in the current political climate that there are people all over the country — including in San Diego — who would rather LGBT folks not exist. Until the day when hatred disappears, LGBT spaces are important and necessary.
I’m sad to see Numbers go — where else will I be able to dance to a Cuban band on one side, and then hop over to a sweaty kink party on the other side? I greatly appreciate the contributions this important, yet underrated, night spot made to our community, and am very grateful to its friendly staff, management, and owner Nicholas Moede, for keeping the doors open as long as they could.
In its final days, Numbers will host several of its regular events, including Tropical Nights on Friday, Sept. 1, Bear Night on Saturday, Sept. 2, and Noche Romantica con Daisy Salinas on Sunday, Sept. 3.
Keep an eye on Facebook for information about closing weekend celebrations.
If you’ve never been to Numbers before, or haven’t been in awhile, be sure to stop by to say goodbye and please continue to support our LGBT establishments so that we continue to have many options to choose from for years to come.
Getting Out With Benny
AIDS Walk & Run San Diego fundraising season is in full swing and a number of team fundraisers have been announced. The Center’s Young Professionals Council, who are currently in the top 10 team ranking, are hosting their third annual Bubbles & Cupcakes fundraiser on Tuesday, Sept. 5 from 6–8 p.m. at Babycakes. Guests will be treated to complimentary champagne and cupcakes with $10 suggested donation, or by signing up to participate on YPC’s AIDS Walk team. Visit bit.ly/2x69ulw.
Everyone is welcome to The Center on the first Wednesday of each month for GGG Game & Trivia Night! The evening includes the opportunity to choose from hundreds of board games, or jump into the Live Team Trivia, hosted by John Lockhart. A donation of $5 is suggested for admission, and there is plenty of snacks, pizza, wine, beer, and soft drinks. The next GGG is Wednesday, Sept. 6 from 6–8:30 p.m. at The Center. Visit bit.ly/2x6ec2M.
Homelessness continues to be one of the most pressing issues facing San Diego, and urban neighborhoods like Hillcrest are particularly affected by it. The Hillcrest Town Council will host its September Community Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 6:30–8 p.m. with a conversation on strategies to address homelessness, featuring Councilmember Chris Ward. Everyone is welcome to come and hear Councilmember Ward’s plans to address the problem and plenty of time will be allocated for questions. Visit bit.ly/2vKJ8kw.
—Benny Cartwright is the director of community outreach at the San Diego LGBT Community Center. He can be reached at 619-692-2077 ext. 106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.