Daddy, Why Is Numbers Called Numbers?


Numbers pre-fire Abrahan Garza-thumb-400x293.jpg
Photo by Abrahan Garza
"Dad, then why does the sign in front of Numbers say #'s 2?"

Well, son, that is a story that has two parts. In 1980, Numbers was at the top of its game. It was doing great, but some of the people involved as investors felt it could do more and there was a disagreement.

A few of the parties involved thought it best to step away and let the others, who thought they knew better, take over the club. The parties who stepped away went on to work on other projects and take comfortable vacations in what was then a new vacation spot in Mexico called Cancún.

That was in May of 1980. By August of 1980, the managing group that thought they could do a "better job" had run the club into the ground. They didn't pay a lot of bills.

That managing group in control of the club decided to throw a theme party, not knowing the power would be turned off because of nonpayment. The theme was Gone with the Wind. On the Friday night of the party, the managing group went into the club and there was no power. Numbers One was truly gone with the wind.

The group that stepped away came back and started to redo the club in August of that year, and reopened the club as the "infamous" Babylon on December 8, 1980. That was the same day we lost John Lennon.

It was during that remodel time that they opened up what was the kitchen and put in the bar that Uncle Loyd works at.

"Wow, dad, Uncle Loyd's bar used to be a kitchen?"

Yep, it was during that time when 300 Westheimer became the first laser dance club in Houston. It also had the first CO2 cannons that would fog the entire dance floor. There were lights that would come out of the ceiling on long cables and go all the way to the dance floor. Then it happened again.

"What happened, dad?"

There were some disagreements; by that time it was 1983. Most people had forgotten the way things had worked out for Numbers One, and they were "bitterly" left to roam the Montrose streets in hoop skirts and Civil War costumes because of the Gone with the Wind party that never happened.

The name was changed back to Numbers, but this time it was Numbers 2, and it has been that name since.

"What a story, dad."

I know, son. No matter what, 300 Westheimer will always be Numbers, where all kinds of people mix: debutantes to factory workers, truck drivers to drag queens. Son, if the world were like Numbers, there would be no war.

"Dad, when I'm old enough, can I hang at Numbers?"

I promise, son, I will take you there for your first concert just like my dad, your grandfather, took me. I promise.



Location Info

Venue

Map

Numbers

300 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Music

My Voice Nation Help
57 comments
nnnslogan
nnnslogan

This article leaves out the short-lived second Numbers location in Austin in the early 90s.


Lurkzilla
Lurkzilla

The Numbers that I went to (practically every night) in 1978-79 was NOT gay-friendly. It was straight-friendly. It was a gay disco. And the slang term "number" usually had the word "hunky" preceding it. I find the de-homosexualizing of Numbers' history...interesting.

djrage70
djrage70

I assumed it was taken from the old Kraftwerk song... 

David Rozycki
David Rozycki

It used to say "#'s Number 2 outside if I am not mistaken.

Gayle Davis
Gayle Davis

Every NIN and Lords of Acid concert I've ever seen was at #'s. Such great memories!

Dustin Kalman
Dustin Kalman

History of 6400 and its famous radio broadcasts.

Tommie Gibson
Tommie Gibson

Dig up some dirt and info on the old power tools

Dream
Dream

great story and awesome comments. #'s is the only building in houston i think is historic and should be saved.

dream

MJT1
MJT1

Folks I knew at A&M (of all places) used to talk about going to dance at "The Plantation" in Houston, but I've never been able to figure out which club it might have morphed into.  They described at as a haven for the underage back in the late 70's and gay-run / gay-friendly back in the pre-AIDS days.  Jef, what's the word?

moviekiller
moviekiller

great job as always Jef! That story really is one for the record books!

samagon
samagon

I love and hate going to #s. I love it cause it's got so many good memories (how many terrific groups have played on that stage?), and good music to dance to. I hate it cause no one seems to care about it, most of all the proprietors. 

Jackie Hibbard
Jackie Hibbard

The only reason Numbers isn't a homeless shelter yet is because it has running water, place is rank!

missmermista
missmermista

Oh I used to love going there in my younger days when I was a glamour gal. I remember dancing with this dreamy guy for what seemed like all night, but I never knew his name or got his number. Anyways, I work in the Montrose area, and word on the street is that someone is working on getting together a Numbers documentary. So there could be even more interesting stories yet to come about this great Houston institution.

Sarah Applegate
Sarah Applegate

I would love to see the silver wallpaper make a comeback.

Sarah Applegate
Sarah Applegate

Awesome article, thanks Trish Lotterhos-Gilbreath. Wacky Jackie Jennings - did you see this?

massmurdermedia
massmurdermedia

...and by the way, if you see your mom this weekend, to be sure and tell her SATAN!  SATAN!  SATAN!...



DLege
DLege

I am 50, this was the first dance club I ever went to, it was in 1978 and yes I was not yet 18!

I still show up there occasionally. I didn't know all the history cause I was never a regular.Thanks for the story!

p_ann
p_ann

Ah, wow... I never wondered about any of that, but now I realize I was foolish not to know the backstory!  Maybe I *will* go to Numbers the next Friday night I'm in Houston!  Could be fun to relive my youth! :)

demonlager
demonlager

uncle lloyd!!!  bahahahaha.  love numbers, have been going there since i was a teen and was there again last friday.  have seen some amazing shows and had some great friends there.  nickel beer was a blast.  theresa letting us put drinks on layaway.  seeing bands like suicidal tendencies and deadhorse, ministry, NIN, skinny puppy up close & personal.  and, sometimes being in the band onstage too.  tons of great memories there, though admittedly a lot of them are a bit fuzzy.  

You Genious
You Genious

Hahahah! All of our "institutions" are trash cans John. Name one that isnt...

Clay Wisner
Clay Wisner

whether the place is shiny & clean or grungy and worn - you have to thank them for booking some of the most amazing talent to come through Houston - that wouldn't have otherwise made the swing through town. PROPS TO NUMBERS.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Great story!

John Cramer
John Cramer

Too bad we treat our institutions like trash cans. That place is one step shy of being condemned. What a dump.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Never knew the history. Great milestone, though. In '95 or '96 I went to a Marilyn Manson show with a classmate who's boyfriend ditched her. I had a great time, recalled seeing Rancid there, and realized a man of my age should be arrested at the door. 

Alexander_Bites
Alexander_Bites

Awesome! My Houston friends are always amazed to learn that I worked at Numbers #2 for a couple years in late '80's. Great memories. My eyes were opened to a lot of things I had been sheltered from in my small town life. My first night at work was PiL. The bands I saw there, NiN, Skinny Puppy, Ministry, GWAR, Violent Femmes.... Robert (Robot) and Bruce were some good guys. I always wonder what happened to the old gang and how many of them are still around. 

TA

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

Violent Femmes playing until about 4:30am on a Sunday night, repeating the songs they played way earlier in the set. Using numbers as a decoy, so we could catch a bus to the axiom to see more edgy shows, to being nearly killed at a ministry show by the crazy pit. Ahh good times, first show I saw here was Jesus and Mary Chain with NiN opening probably 1989..

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

I've been going there for about 20 years now and never knew. Very cool. Dig the old pics too. Hard to believe it once looked like that.

Lurkzilla
Lurkzilla

@MJT1 The Old Plantation. It was a gay disco 2 blocks east of Shepherd and 2 blocks north of West Alabama. Around Kipling and Huldy streets. It became a linen supply company or something. First gay bar/club I ever went to.

djrage70
djrage70

@Sarah Applegate was that during the dinner theater days?

p_ann
p_ann

First time I saw Erasure was at #s back in 1997 when they were there on the Tiny Tour. :)

MJT1
MJT1

@Lurkzilla Thanks.  I tried to find THE PARLOUR on Mandell after it had closed and only found a modern 3-story apartment block.

Lurkzilla
Lurkzilla

@MJT1  I've never heard of The Parlour. There was a place called Parade Disco on Richmond near Mandell that had New Wave Mondays. It was in the building that now houses the Menil's Dan Flavin installation.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Houston Event Tickets
Loading...