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Historic #1 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest getting new ownership

New owners are taking over #1 Fifth Ave. in Hillcrest.
Photo credit:
Google Street View

As one of the oldest gay bars still operating in Hillcrest, #1 Fifth Ave. holds a special place in the heart of the neighborhood. And that badge of honor should still shine even after the coming months when the club changes owners.

An official statement was posted to social media today as current-owner and local icon himself, Omar Lowry announced the future changing of the guard. 

"I would like to confirm that the bar has been sold and the transfer will take several months to complete," Lowry wrote on Facebook. "The new owners are members of the LGBTQ community and have been customers of this bar for over 20 years. I have every confidence that the new owners will enhance the business and continue to serve the LGBTQ community in San Diego. The bar will continue to be committed to providing a fun and positive atmosphere with the service that we all love. I’m very excited about what the future will bring!"

General manager and photographer Rikke Ellis-Bahena also confirmed the news on Facebook, saying the bar may be changing hands but the buyers have taken a pledge to keep its spirit intact. 

"I am very excited about this next chapter, as the new owners love the bar as much as we all do and have made the commitment to preserve #1 as it is today," he wrote. 

Rikke has been with the club for almost a decade and says the second he started serving clients his goal was to, "strengthen the sense of community within this already iconic bar and continue to preserve it as a place where everyone would feel safe, where diversity is welcomed, friendships flourish and where people can relax, have fun and just be themselves."

Rikke says he's proud to be a part of such a supportive and loving community, and that foundation is where  #1 on Fifth will continue to grow. 

He also says the bar will undergo some maintenance and fixes, nothing major though, "here’s to exciting new things to come," wrote Rikke. "Thank you all for your constant love and support."

The new owners don't want to be identified just yet, they are waiting for all the paperwork to be signed and closed. 

#1 Fifth Ave. is probably best known for its Havana Nights events which showcase Latin music and dance.