About

The Rail originally opened on the corner of 6th and B downtown in the Orpheum theatre building. It was a popular lunch spot for business professionals and the evenings turned into the hot spot for gay men to meet and enjoy the piano bar. Law enforcement used to walk in with flashlights and demand “All hands above the bar” to keep men from holding hands. When the building was sold in the early 1960s, The Rail was moved to the current Chase building on 5th and Robinson. The customers followed the comfortable surroundings of their Piano Bar and Hillcrests gay community took root. Ten years later, redevelopment forced the owner across the street to our current location.

The Rail has stood the test of time, going through a large expansion in 1993 and a major remodel in 2007. Each year brings something new for the customer to look forward to, while remaining an Icon in San Diego as the oldest known gay bar. A huge part of our success in that we are family owned and operated for the last 55 years, by only two families. We are dedicated to the community that has supported us for so many years.

The nightclub industry is forever changing and The Rail has kept pace with those changes constantly reinventing the club while staying true to our Hillcrest roots. State of the art lighting, modern yet inviting atmosphere, some of the best talent San Diego has to offer in DJs, artists and dancers keep our customers coming back. The longevity of our staff is a true testament to The Rails continued success.

We look forward to many more years on the corner of 5th and Robinson, in the heart of Hillcrest. A heartfelt thank you to the many customers that have visited us over the years and to the many that come see us so regularly. A visit to San Diego is not complete if you have not stopped by The Rail!!

Chef Chad Brunette


As a young chef who wears his passion for the culinary arts on his sleeve, Chad Brunette is excited to make his mark on the diverse San Diego food scene. With over 10 years of professional experience in the restaurant industry, Chef Chad has experienced a wide array of the culinary world. Upon graduating from The Art Institute of Las Vegas in 2008, Chef Chad dove into his field of study, quickly moving through the Las Vegas food scene as he built his career. Through his employment at prestigious hotels including Planet Hollywood, Caesar’s Palace, The Mirage and The Cosmopolitan, Chef Chad has mastered the art of adapting his craft to many different dining atmospheres. After making the move to San Diego and pursuing the opportunity to cultivate his own signature menu, Chef Chad earned the position of Executive Chef at the newly remodeled local staple The Rail, complete with the addition of a state-of-the-art kitchen. Thrilled to be working with long-time friend and colleague John Hamacker, Chef Chad is dedicated to continuing to evolve and deliver the highest-quality cuisine and a smile with every plate.

Chef John Hamaker


Hailing originally from northern Nevada, Sous Chef John Hamaker has had the opportunity to see the world from an early age. Growing up in a Navy family allowed Chef John to experience life from coast to coast, taking in new environments, cultures, people, and great food along the way. Chef John began his culinary career at the young age of 13-years-old, diligently working his way up through the years from washing dishes to making salads, meal-prepping for dinner to sauté service, and ultimately reaching the realization that being a chef would become an immense part of his life. Pursuing his passion, Chef John journeyed through employment at featured Food Network restaurants, television food truck competitions, and hosting favorited food truck events around Las Vegas. After making an impression on the Las Vegas Strip as a successful saucier under Chef Chad Brunette at The Cosmopolitan hotel, Chef John has brought his talents and a distinctive Las Vegas flair to The Rail. Chef John is eager to spread happiness through food, using his exposure to different cuisines and flavors to add a unique twist to The Rail’s new menu.