bang to collegiate whimper.
During the summer of 1983, the grand opening of Rich’s
catapulted Houston’s gay community out from the conservative
grip that had controlled it for so many years. During this
era when alternative lifestyles were hidden, Rich’s
opened its doors with a new attitude: Gay nightlife should
be celebrated and enjoyed openly, not hidden in the darkness.
Since then, a lot has changed – including management,
ownership, and resident DJs – and many have said that
the club “isn’t what it used to be.” We
sent three Stalkers to find out.
Rich’s has two levels: One for dancing, and one for
resting and watching others dance. Its large dancefloor has
a floor-to-ceiling video screen, outstanding sound system,
and serious light show. Clubbers can enjoy watching the action
from the surrounding loft, or enjoy conversation with friends
in either the Video Bar or the Art Lounge, which features
exhibits by local artists.
The club is open Thursday through Sunday each week, with special
events throughout the year.
When I walked int, I was immediately welcomed by the club
staff, and the best thing Rich’s has to offer: Free
cover before 11.
But it was about 11:30 on Friday, and the club was dead. Hardly
anyone in sight. I could literally count the people.
Still, Rich’s lighting system is out of this world.
They have a lot of lights, soaring all night to the beat of
progressive house music. The lights are on a railing that
moves up and down. But the main attraction on the dancefloor
is the gigantic spiked mirror ball that creates a confetti
effect when the lights hit it. They also have smaller mirror
balls around the floor.
The club has four bars. Two main bars are located downstairs
where the dancefloor is, and the upstairs is a little more
private. They have a drag room where male impersonators take
the stage before 10 p.m. on Fridays, and to the side of that,
a private, dark room awaits the crowd that wants to relax
and enjoy the beats. The upstairs also overlooks at the dancefloor,
and we sat around the railing on comfortable loveseats. The
DJs seemed to jam to their spinning tunes, even when only
a few people were on the dancefloor.
The floor started to get busy after one in the morning, one
hour prior to closing.
Friday night at Rich’s is for those people who want
the opportunity to talk, meet as a group, or have a friend’s
night out, because it’s the only two-floor club in Houston
that is not packed on Fridays. The people who work here are
very friendly and they seem to enjoy their jobs.
Just recently they opened their doors to the 18-and-up crowd,
probably since during the summer, most teenagers want a great
club to hang out in. This club has it all.
I felt safe knowing that the Houston Police Department was
on duty at the door: I knew no madness would evolve in this
nightclub, as you hear fights breaking out in other clubs,
especially in the downtown area.
What I liked the most about Rich’s was the opportunity
my friends and I had to talk about what we had been through
this past week. We hardly see each other, and this club is
perfect to catch a drink and enjoy good company. We relaxed
outside on their patio, which is surrounded by palm trees
and a nice wooden deck with a bar in the center.
The inside is for a much more younger crowd, where they can
enjoy great music and a great lightshow on the enormous dancefloor.
At first, there was hardly anyone around, and by the time
I realized the club had gotten pretty crunked, with a lot
of college kids dancing on the stage.
But if you’re looking for a quiet atmosphere after a
long week’s work, Rich’s on Friday is a safe bet.