Seven Popular Myths and Urban Legends About Numbers

Categories: Gothtopia

Numbers 0404.jpg
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.

Rewind:

Daddy, Why Is Numbers Called Numbers?


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.

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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.

Location Info

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Numbers

300 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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46 comments
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.

jbritta
jbritta

... has that NO PARKING sign ALWAYS been at that angle.? 

cedarchopper16
cedarchopper16

Can still see Ray manning the bar! Always have him in my thoughts and mind. Lot of folks from those early days are gone. Some really good people as Ray would say!!

bernerf
bernerf

I often pay homeless people to piss on my shoes because I miss the feeling of being in the mens bathroom at #'s.  Why does it have the nastiest bathrooms in a club in Houston?

CraigandSamantha Clark
CraigandSamantha Clark

In the 80's, Weird Al Yankovic tried his many pick up lines on me one night. I was so not interested! Lol! ~ S

Israel Garcia
Israel Garcia

Frequent urinations took place in the vicinity as well :P

Sam Samson
Sam Samson

Definitely had a couple of murders there, and a couple of kidnappings outside!!!

Melia Hughes
Melia Hughes

The 80s at Numbers were fun...as far as I can remember. A lot of it is a bit fuzzy.

Matthew Ashton
Matthew Ashton

Someone told me NIN showed up unannounced in the early 90's and did a surprise performance. True?

bernerf
bernerf

Here's to Moe and Skip. RIP...

kathiemuncy1
kathiemuncy1

I am happy to say that I was married there recently, one of the most wonderful nights of my life.

MadMac
MadMac

"Most Numbers regulars treat any canoodling they happen upon with little more than a shrug."

I can state, for the record, I've never encountered any canoodling at numbers. Or--since  I've been married--anywhere else. 

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

So are the rumors of unisex bathrooms true or not, I would have been far too young to know that, probably first time there was 1988-89.

Vannica Soy
Vannica Soy

I went for the first time last Friday & had a blast. Met a patron out on the patio who well telling me what a Houston institution Numbers is. Pretty fitting that I stumbled upon an article about it!

Marshall Falcon
Marshall Falcon

I had the pleasure of performing there, passing out drunk there and enjoying NICKEL BEER nights. Ah, the memories....

Abraham Zermeno
Abraham Zermeno

I've never been to Numbers, now I wanna go to Numbers. Because I feel like I have to

J.A.Justice
J.A.Justice

Anyone over the age of 30 has probably heard the rumor about the floor at Fitz nearly collapsing one night.  It never happened but there used to be dozens of people who claim to have been there when it happened.

"I was there the night the floor upstairs at fitz collapsed" was 1990s Houston's version of "I was at Woodstock"

se_hirsch
se_hirsch

Brody was in my German class at UH the semester before he was killed.  It was a real bummer.  He was s super nice guy and possibly the last person I would ever imagine getting murdered by anyone.  :(

missyjane
missyjane

My husband of 17 years swears we saw Green Day at Number at some point during our marriage. I've argued with him many times that we've only seen Green Day once and it was at the then Verizon Wireless Theater. Did Green Day ever play Numbers? I'm pretty sure we've only been there once and it was to see Rollins Band.

djbillt
djbillt

@cedarchopper16   Ray Aaron was my roommate for several years.  W worked at Numbers, shared a house in Bellaire with a barback named Greg (I think). Miss Ray a lot...

TXGenX
TXGenX

That was true in the 80s. Or maybe its just that no one cared which one was which.

Smedley
Smedley

@J.A.Justice HA! I was playing an electronic set back in the late 90s downstairs at Fitz... Faceplant was playing upstairs and everyone was jumping around when, right in the middle of my set, a guy's entire leg came through the ceiling. It was hilarious. He probably ran over and took a hit off of Faceplant's giant fog machine bong afterward.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@se_hirsch I did Rocky Horror with him. The night he died my wife and I hadn't seen him in awhile. I had stayed home sick that night, but she went out, and they had a good talk. When she came home she woke me up for a few minutes to tell me she'd hung out with Brody. A couple of hours later, friends called us and let us know he'd been stabbed.

sickgirl2
sickgirl2

@missyjane They were the opening band for Bad Religion at a show at went to at #s, so yes, they played there.  

chocolatecrucifix
chocolatecrucifix

@missyjane No they absolutely played there twice...The first time was with Bad Religion and Seaweed....Seaweed were in their prime and made both bands look silly....Then they played with Tilt and maybe (Horace Pinker?), and were much better...I'm looking at the Tilt sticker that they threw into the audience right now... I miss Numbers concerts...

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

@missyjane The smallest venue I know of Green Day playing was Emo's in 1991 or 92 I was there for that..

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@missyjane They did. My wife saw them with her ex-boyfriend. I can't remember if she said they opened for the Bosstones, or if that was a separate concert. 

se_hirsch
se_hirsch

@JefWithOneF :( It made me really paranoid about leaving the house because if that could happen to a person like Brody, then it could literally happen to anyone.

missyjane
missyjane

@budnickto That's cool, thanks! According to that info (if it's accurate) both dates at Numbers were before we were married. So if he did see them there, it wasn't with me. ;-) 

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