Houston, Texas



From gay 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.

Stalker #1
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.

Stalker #2
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.

Stalker #3
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.

Copyright 2004 Club Systems International Magazine
Copyright 2004 TESTA Communications