The Rail (formerly the Brass Rail) In Hillcrest changes hands

San Diego’s historical LGBT bar, The Rail, is under new ownership as of late June, and with the possibility of reintroducing drag brunches on weekends.

New owners Urbano Pelicon and his friend/business partner Isaac Vargas purchased the business from Gayle Santillan, who along with various family members ran the bar for more than 30 years. Prior to that, the bar dates back to 1934, when it originally operated downtown. It moved to Hillcrest in 1963. Until a rebranding effort in 2016, the bar was well known as The Brass Rail.

“Even though The Rail has always been a gay bar, this is the first time that it is gay-owned,” Pelicon said, noting that the building’s landlord requested the bar continue catering to the LGBT community.

“We are going to continue the legacy,” he added.

Pelicon and Vargas arrive at the table with industry experience; Pelicon was a manager for several years at the former Numbers bar in Hillcrest, and Vargas currently manages Cannonball in Mission Beach.

Pelicon said that “sometime after Pride weekend,” he plans on serving food again from the small kitchen that has been dormant since October.

“We might do drag brunches again and serve bar food once we start opening for happy hour — but not right away.”

For now, The Rail will be open from 9 pm to close, Wednesday through Sunday. As for any new physical changes to the space, Pelicon said there will only be some minor, decorative improvements made to the interior, since the bar was given an extensive refresh in 2017 under the former ownership. 3796 Fifth Ave.,  – LGBTQ San Diego County News