This weekend, queer culture icons like sexy rapper Cazwell
, RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Chad Michaels and Shannel, The Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus, Andrew Christian’s underwear models, officials from the City of Palm Springs
, and many more will all be at one place to celebrate a special 15th birthday party: at Hunters Palm Springs.
Hunters is the largest LGBTQ nightclub in the entire Coachella Valley, but it’s not just size that matters: Palm Springs Magazine
deemed it “Best of the Valley” for any nightclub establishment - gay or straight – for several years running. And it’s not the best because it was the first gay bar in the area: That accolade goes to the always-humming Streetbar a couple doors down, which opened in 1991.
But Hunters, anchoring one end of Palm Springs’ gayborhood of Arenas Road
, is everyone’s favorite local hot spot to dance, chat, drink, cruise, and laugh the night away. You can’t miss its classy ambience with futuristic glass walls, video screens, laser lights, and pumping bass as you drive by it on any evening. But Hunters is far from imposing or cold – visitors from bigger cities always gush how friendly and “no-attitude” the place is, welcoming everyone from baby dykes to furry bears to muscle queens to lipstick lesbians to shy twinks to silver foxes to straight couples drawn to its reputation and ambience. Everyone is simply here to have a great time at the best party in town – be it for Fur Fridays, Underwear Wednesdays, Monday Night Football, Sunday’s Complimentary BBQ and $10 bottomless champagne!
But did you know what was in the space before Hunters occupied it? Or what sport/art form the owner professionally competed in? Or that Hunters has a much older sister in another state? Scroll down for our exclusive Q&A with Hunters owner Mark Hunter for these revelations and more...!
This weekend’s Hunters 15th Anniversary happenings:
- Friday, September 27th, 4 PM - 7 PM:
Special presentation from the City of Palm Springs, The Gay Men’s Chorus of Palm Springs, and representatives from several community organizations and businesses. Food by Dash and a Handful Catering, and confections by Over the Rainbow Cupcakes and Desserts.
- Friday, September 27th, 9 PM - 2AM:
Performances by hunky and scantily-clad Andrew Christian underwear models
- Saturday, September 28th, 9 PM - 2AM:
A performance by recording artist Cazwell (pictured below in the shiny center of a galaxy of man flesh)
. Cazwell has taken hip hop and queered the hell of it with his sexy and sardonic double-entrendre songs and raps. And yes, he is sure to have bevy of beautiful boys he always has in tow! Surprise celebrity guests are rumored to be showing up as well.
- Sunday, September 29th, 12 Noon:
Enjoy the game with complimentary food provided by the Crazy Coconut Bar and Grill.
- Sunday, September 29th, 9 PM:
FlamBOYance Drag Revue hosted by Jayla D Foxx and Libra, with special guests Chad Michaels (winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars
) and Shannel (Season One finalist from RuPaul’s Drag Race
Q&A with Hunters Owner Mark Hunter:
Q: What lead you to open Hunters in Palm Springs?
I wanted to expand the Hunters brand – which began with the successful opening of our Chicago location [in Elk Grove Village just northwest of the O’Hare Airport] back in 1982. After visiting a few cities like San Diego, Dallas, Austin, and Palm Springs, I decided to settle in Palm Springs. It seemed to have the most potential. Although I love Palm Springs, I do not live in the Palm Springs area at this time.
Q: What did you do previously, before giving birth to two Hunters?
I did not have any other bars before Hunters Chicago. Just prior to being in the nightclub business, I was a full time ballroom dancer and competitor for ten years.
Q: What was the Hunters space like before you took it over?
The Hunters Palm Springs space was virtually empty prior to us opening. We did a total remodel of the space. Shortly after opening we expanded into a retail space next to us. It was a vacuum store and we made it into a dance hall. Other than a couple of major redecorations, our mission statement of including all people, Hunters Palm Springs has not changed that much.
Q: What was the Arenas area like when you opened in 1998?
Fifteen years ago, Arenas Road had many gay businesses, which lead us to opening in one of the few empty storefronts available. There were already two other gay bars as well as a gay coffee house, a live theater, and the retail-clothing store Gaymart.
Q: How would you characterize the vibe of Hunters Palm Springs?
pride ourselves in serving our customers the finest quality cocktails
for the most reasonable price in a welcoming and open space. Our open
atmosphere and our floor-to-ceiling windows will make sure you don’t
miss any of the action inside or out in Palm Springs’ beautiful climate.
Q: Any future plans that may involve a younger sister for the two uber-successful Hunters?
If an opportunity presents itself, we would open other Hunters locations!
Hunters Palm Springs is located at 302 Arenas Road at the corner of Calle Encilia. Parking is free, as is club entry. 21 and over, and every customer is asked for I.D. For more info, go to www.huntersnightclubs.com/palmsprings or call 760-323-0700.