Seven Popular Myths and Urban Legends About Numbers
Not long back I had the opportunity to explore the origin of the name of my favorite Houston club, Numbers. My source explained to me that the name originated from a late '70s slang term indicating a hot guy or girl during the club's original disco days. The upstairs area of the club also sported silver wall paper that was decorated with numbers on it, further cementing the moniker. Later, the wallpaper was painted over with black.
That solved at least one mystery for me, but Numbers has had a fair share of tales told about it over its long history. And its history is quite long, having opened as Numbers in 1978. Along with Fitzgerald's and Anderson Fair, it's one of the oldest clubs still in its original building and still operating almost half a century later.
It's time to lay to rest some of the myths surrounding my gothic sanctuary.
7. Numbers has never been a roller rink.
When the building first opened in 1975, it was The Million Dollar City Dump, a dinner theater where people could see Las Vegas-style shows. It transitioned into a disco to capitalize on the latest fad, and has remained a dance club ever since.
6. There used to be bowls of ecstasy available for patrons by the doors.
This was true during the '70s and '80s, and isn't really all that shocking. X, or MDMA, didn't become illegal until 1985 and punishment for its sale use didn't become serious until 2001 when Congress mandated a 3,000 percent (not a typo) increase in penalties.
5. A fire did not shut down Numbers in 1980.
If there ever has been a significant fire at the club, I have not been able to find anything out about it. The closure was a result of poor management that had neglected to pay the club's bills, with the final outcome being the power's getting cut off for non-payment during a Gone With the Wind-themed gala. The club reopened as Babylon later in the year.
4. Numbers has never had another location.
It has always resided at 300 Westheimer. During the Babylon days, when CO2 cannons and laser lights were installed, as well as building Lloyd's bar in the old Million Dollar City Dump kitchen, management once again began to disagree and changes were made. The club retook the name Numbers, adding a "2" to the sign to signify its new direction.
3. At no point in its history has Numbers ever been a brothel, either.
There simply aren't enough gaps in Numbers' chronology for one to have been operating. Of course, there's been plenty of sex, and I can't say for certain whether it's ever been in exchange for either money or drugs. Most Numbers regulars treat any canoodling they happen upon with little more than a shrug.