"It is truly a beacon of diversity."
Brian D. Jinings has gone into a partnership overseeing #1 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest. This legendary bar previously owned by Omar Lowry is one of the oldest in the neighborhood as well as one of the oldest gay bars in San Diego.
Together with co-owners Kevin Sanders and Stefan Leone, Jinings says he's not going to change things inside the bar, but Hillcrest itself must make some changes if it's going to contribute to its success.
San Diego Gay and Lesbian News: What is Venture Commercial?
Brian: Venture Commercial is a commercial real estate company I started approximately 5 years ago. I’ve been in this business for 22 years.
What made you decide to buy #1 Fifth Ave?
It’s a place I’ve enjoyed coming to for 15+ years and always thought it was a fun, extraordinary place.
Then I met Kevin and his husband Stefan at a holiday party being thrown by a very close mutual friend.
They brought me the opportunity and long (very long) story short, we became business partners and moved forward with the purchase.
Have you ever owned a bar before?
We’ve never owned a bar before but in addition to real estate, I own a meal prep (Fit Natural Foods) and catering company (The Urban Taste) so I have experience in food and beverage hospitality.
Kevin built a successful medical company with over 200 employees and sold it a few years ago and Stefan was a finance executive with Barclays Bank in England.
Collectively, we each bring different skill sets which has been an asset and very complimentary to our new business venture.
What makes #1 Fifth Ave. different?
It is truly a beacon of diversity. At any time, you can have all ages, shapes, sizes, colors, orientations, nationalities, etc etc. Within all of this, the bar maintains a “feel-safe” environment which is both comforting and approachable.
What do you think about Hillcrest? What do you think Hillcrest could use more of?
As a San Diego native, I’ve enjoyed Hillcrest for a long time.
I think the Hillcrest community will need to make a decision in the very near future.
Either we decide to figure out an efficient parking solution to bring more people in OR we need to make it more pedestrian/bike-friendly which needs to include more density.
Otherwise, we risk the lives of many of the businesses/restaurants that call Hillcrest home.
Will you change the theme of #1 Fifth Ave.?
Other than experimenting with some of the entertainment being offered, we have no plans to change anything.
Where are you from?
Born in NYC but grew up in San Diego.
How old are you?
Are you a part of the LGBT community or an ally?
I’m definitely a part of (it).
When people come to #1 Fifth what do you hope they take away from it?
Our hope is they take away good memories of friendly staff, good laughs, and an inclusive community.
#1 Fifth Ave. is located at 3845 5th Ave San Diego, 92103