Owner Chris Braga explains the hiatus as a business decision, nothing more
SAN DIEGO -- The last official gay Saturday night at Spin Nightclub will be filled to the brim with jocks from all of San Diego's local sports leagues and teams. The Jock Ball is this Saturday, April 16th and it is sure to help you get your sweat on!
So if you have a soft-spot for anything softball, football, basketball, wrestling or even tennis - everyone will be coming to dance the night away in San Diego's most amazing dance club - before gay nights take an official "time out" for a while.
Spin Nightclub has the most incredible sound and lighting system, electrifying every inch of its 10,000 square feet of true dance club fun.
This is not your average bar that happens to have a dance floor, this is a three-story dance club that happens to have a bar.
The event is sponsored by SDPIX and everyone from all sports leagues around San Diego is invited to attend -- male and female -- so get your dancing shoes on and be prepared to sweat yourself into even better shape than before.
The festivities start at 9 p.m. and go all night long, as doors won't close until 6:00 a.m.
There will be NO COVER for members of local sports teams before 11:00 p.m. but you must RSVP at jocks.sdpix.com.
Popular DJs Manny Lehman, Luis Perez & Big Chris will be rocking you through the night, so get in your athletic best and take a slide on the wild side down at the Jock Ball!
Don't forget to grab a breath of fresh air and check out the sights of the city from the rooftop bar while you are there.
This will be the last Gay Saturday at Spin Nightclub
Owner Chris Braga took a few moments this week to speak to San Diego Gay & Lesbian News about Spin, the hiatus of Saturday Gay Night, and the Jock Ball.
Everyone who has been around our community very long, knows that this particular space has been a gay venue for decades, starting with West Coast Production Company (WCPC) back in the 1980s, then owned by Chris Shaw (of Baja Betty's, Mo's and Gossip Grill). Then it became Club Montage and although it was the place to be for a time, soon attendance began to wane.
Braga purchased the property five years ago and despite his top-to-bottom remodel, he kept the Club Montage name for 2 1/2 years. For the last two years it has been Spin Nightclub.
"When we first opened and started Gay Saturdays, we were bringing in 600 people, and even 1200 at special events. Now the gays just aren't coming out," Braga said.
Unfortunately, this is true. Despite the overhaul into a $5 million, 10,000 square foot venue with a top-notch sound and lighting system and DJs who rank in the Top 20 of the nation -- San Diego gays just haven't been making the short trek from Hillcrest down the hill to Spin on Saturday nights.
Braga had to make a business decision: Close down the club or offer the venue out to a promoter who will bring in the bacon.
He decided to offer the venue out - and the target crowd for Saturdays will now be heterosexual - but his bacon is already squealing all the way to the bank: Just two weeks ago on April 2nd - 900 people showed for the Lifted Anniversary with Miguel Migs and Mark Farina. Who could say no to that?
"Spin is exactly one mile from Rich's - that is a $5 cab ride," Braga said. "But they won't come. We've lost that 80's and 90's feel - maybe it was because we were fighting so hard for civil rights back then - and oh by the way … we still are. I just find it amazing that we don't keep it in the gay family like we used to."
He's talking about how other, straight nightclubs downtown seem to lure gay and lesbian promoters when his venue is one of the top three dance clubs -- and the longest running gay-themed after-hours club -- in all of San Diego, including downtown.
"What people forget is that this really is a dance club - I have three floors - it is not just a gay bar with a dance floor. But San Diego can't afford three dance floors."
Braga was glad to service his community but Gay Nights weren't paying the mortgage. In these tough economic times, he had to weigh out the options and decide where the money was going to come from.
"If I could find a promoter that knew what he/she was doing, I'd be more than happy do an event. But promoters down here aren't like they are in L.A., and even they are having problems. It's a tough economy," he said.
He's been disappointed with the negative feedback he's received on Facebook and elsewhere, because even though he will be taking money from straight promoters now, it is all about the almighty dollar.
"I'm a big old 'mo myself, so relax, it's not a gay issue," he said. "I just can't keep the doors open for 300 when it holds 1200."
Still, Braga is looking forward to the Jock Ball and hopes to fill those three floors chock-full of gays and lesbians, especially since it will be the last time - at least for a while - making the evening bittersweet for the nightclub owner. Clearly he is not 100% convinced this will be a permanent decision.
"For now it is farewell, at least for the time being," he said. "We'll see how it goes. It may be just a temporary hiatus. Let Rich's and Eden enjoy the Saturdays."
He has big plans for the Friday of Pride weekend and is considering "going big" on that Saturday, but was tight-lipped on his plans. Stay tuned.
He wants everyone to know they are all still welcome every night of the week he is open, regardless of the promoter or theme.