Rumors are swirling around Houston's LGBT community of the pending demise of the city's largest collection of gay bars. But the company says the rumors are nothing more than that and reiterates the bars aren't going anywhere.
Charles Armstrong Investments -- owner of JR's, South Beach, Montrose Mining Co. and Meteor -- has not sold the bars, nor is there any plan to, says CAI's operations manager Jose Apodaca.
"These rumors surface no less than every two years since [Charles Armstrong] came to Houston in the early 1980s," Apodaca says. "Again, Meteor, South Beach, JR's Bar & Grill and Montrose Mining Co. have never been, currently are not and will not be for sale."
That's a pretty definitive statement and one that appears justified. Despite increased competition in recent years, and more on the way, CAI maintains a fairly strong grip on sales in Houston's niche LGBT bar market.
We all have our favorite hangouts -- our go-to bars for a night on the town. Some prefer the chill lounge atmosphere of Guava Lamp. Others prefer the drag shows or late night thump of F Bar. And more than a few have been found on the dance floor at South Beach well after the last drink has been poured.
But an analysis of citywide mixed beverage sales for the month of June from the Texas Comptroller's Office shows just how popular these places are by perhaps the most reliable metric.
JR's, the decades-old anchor establishment of Montrose still reigns supreme, pulling in more money from bar sales than any other LGBT bar in town. It's followed now by F Bar, which opened in early 2011. Blur Bar, a two-story dance club that stands next door to JR's comes in at number three. And two other Charles Armstrong's bars, Meteor and South Beach, round out the top five LGBT establishments by liquor sales.
The June totals are the most recent figures available and also happen to include the city's 10-day long Pride celebration. They did not include complete figures for the new Venus Nightclub that opened in Midtown in June. It will also be interesting to see how Neon Boots, a huge new gay country bar set to open later this month west of the Heights, will affect the mix.
Below is a breakdown of the city's main gay bars and where they fell on the list of total Houston area beverage sales in June. And if you're curious, Minute Maid Park was No. 1 on the list in June followed by the new Dogwood bar in Midtown and another Houston newcomer, Top Golf on Katy Freeway.
• JRs Bar and Grill 59
• F Bar 97
• Blur Bar 159
• Meteor 250
• South Beach 285
• Guava Lamp 342
• Crocker 369
• Tony's Corner Pocket 389
• Montrose Mining Company 394
• The Usual 430
• George 438
• TC's Bar 467
• The Ripcord 609