HOUSTON —Twenty years ago, the Richmond Strip in Southwest Houston was hopping. Location and a big surrounding population helped the club area to thrive.
But things cooled off by the late 1990s. You probably also heard reports of shootings and other crime in the area that didn't help matters.
"[It was] firearms, autos and alcohol in too great of concentration I think," said John Nova Lomax of the Houston Press.
Names like Club 6400, Yucatan Liquor Stand, Club Blue Planet and Billy Blues were once popular names on the strip and now are only memories. However places like Dave and Busters still remain. Lomax believes a major problem with the area was the fact clubs were scattered down a long stretch of road and mixed in with non-entertainment businesses. That made it hard for folks to walk, especially after a few cold ones. It's also clear that having fun and traffic don't mix.
The party scene eventually moved on to other areas like downtown Houston and Midtown. Now it's alive and well on Washington Avenue near The Heights. But Lomax thinks Richmond Avenue's problems could someday affect Washington Avenue too.
"I do think Washington is trying to avoid that with jitneys and stuff like that but there are still a lot of treacherous little bottlenecks," he told us.
Club owners on Richmond say don't count the area out just yet. They will point out new joints are opening along the stretch of road. Scott Gertner's Sports Bar Live is a new addition in the last few years. His family believes it's all about location, location, location.
"Don't forget it is very convenient for all parts of the city and it's right off the freeway which makes it very good," said David Gertner who is the owner's father.
Another thing in the Richmond Strip's favor is the nostalgia factor. It keeps longtime Houstonians coming back. Joseph Jackson has hit the strip for the last 30 years.
"It's an area that I am familiar with," he told us. "I am from the Houston area, it's a place a lot of my friends come and we have happy hour after work. It's the [comfortable nature] that I'm familiar with."
Anyone in the club world will also tell you that the business is very cyclical. What was hot yesterday could be hot again tomorrow.