Will it become a craft-beer enterprise?
SAN DIEGO, California -- Bourbon Street San Diego, a longtime staple in San Diego's LGBT nightlife scene, has closed permanently and been sold along with the shuttered Lei Lounge next door.
The following message was posted on the bar's Facebook page Sunday afternoon before the page was taken down Monday morning.
Thank you for all memories!!! It's been a wild ride. Thank you to all our loyal customers who have supported us throughout the years!!! We're gonna miss you!!
What are your favorite memories at Bourbon St???
BOURBON ST. is officially CLOSED!!!
The bar was sold at the end of 2014 by brothers Michael and Bill Weiss, and new owners have taken control of the venue. SDGLN has been unable to confirm the identities of the new owners or what their plans are for the two clubs or whether it will cater to the LGBT community. Rumors are rife that it will become one large space featuring a craft-beer enterprise.
A fixture in University Heights since the late 1980s
First opened as a piano bar in 1987, Bourbon Street has been a community favorite in the heart of the University Heights business district for decades. The bar was housed in a building with a patio area that replicates a New Orleans street scene, and became popular because of its indoor-outdoor feel. Throughout the years, the bar changed owners a couple of times, but always remained a go-to spot for LGBT community members and allies as well as University Heights neighbors, for food, drinks and entertainment.
Bourbon Street never charged a door cover and had a rotating schedule of weekly events that were popular with diverse groups of community members. The bar played host to hundreds of charity events over the decades, including Mama's Kitchen's annual wine tasting fundraiser. Many other sports leagues, HIV/AIDS organizations, and community non-profit organizations also benefited from fundraisers and special events held at the bar.
The bar's outdoor patio was a popular place for revelers to socialize in the evening and late night year-round, with the adjoining "Stable Bar" that overlooked the patio and included a DJ booth, and dance floor. Bourbon Street also included an inside main bar, and an upstairs room that included a pool table and was sometimes rented out for private parties and VIP events.
Bourbon Street underwent a face-lift in 2010, which included an expansion of the patio and the creation of a food service menu, grill, expanded beer selection and brunch. While the full-service food concept ended after a couple of years, the bar continued to serve burgers, happy hour bites and more during selected hours.
The Lei Lounge connection
The Weiss brothers also owned and operated Lei Lounge next door, and the two clubs shared one kitchen.
Lei Lounge was a popular drinking and dining establishment first opened in 2006, which strived to bring a casually upscale concept to Uptown. The bar and restaurant, which underwent a major renovation and facelift in 2011, opened seasonally as the majority of the venue was outdoors. It closed permanently in September.
In recent years, Bourbon Street was popular for the Thursday night WET underwear contest presented by San Diego PIX, as well as the SOULEIL Sunday daytime dance party, and the Sunday night Soiree event.
These three popular events all plan to continue at different venues. The Sunday afternoon SOULEIL party has big plans for its fifth season, with a re-launch at a new venue after a brief winter hiatus.
Soiree Sundays will move to The Brass Rail starting Sunday, Jan. 11.
San Diego PIX moved WET Thursdays to Numbers on Dec. 4, and the crowds have begun to flock to the new venue. Numbers is located at 3811 Park Blvd. on the North Park/Hillcrest border.
Fans lament the demise of Bourbon Street
Upon receiving news of Bourbon Street's closure, many people in the community took to Facebook to express their sadness at the bar's closure, with many posting photos and other memories of their time spent there.
Melanie Cabardo: "It's the ending of an era. I've truly met some of the best friends I have today because of this place, and I'm so sad to see it go. It started as an occasional thing, then a several times a week thing, so much so I ended up working there, and really made great friends because of it all. Drunken ridiculousness aside, this place will always have a special place in my heart. I'll miss you, Bourbon Street!"
Fernando Lopez: "Oh Bourbon Street San Diego, the end of an era indeed! From first kisses to second chances, countless nights of conversation with friends and family, dancing with LGBT delegates from around the world and complete strangers, marriage and military fundraisers, art shows and drag shows, swimming in their pool and enjoying their circus performers, magical nights and memorial services, standing shy in the corner and confidently with trusted friends standing by my side - 12 years I've loved that place, but it is just a place, a building; it was the people who made it special and carved joy in to my heart and memories. Thank you to each of you who made those memories with me."
Corey David: "[Working at Bourbon Street] was the time of my life and the best job I have ever had!"
It is unclear what the new owners have in store for the venues (both Bourbon Street and Lei Lounge), but is believed that the space will likely reopen in a few months with a new concept and name. SDGLN will report on these developments as they become available.
UPDATE: SDGLN learned later in the day who purchased the businesses. Find out in our additional coverage HERE.