Club Mango takes over Midtown

Jeff vonKaenel

It's a story of a Sac State football player. A gay bar. A Latin bar. Hundreds of young women dressed to kill. And hundreds of straight guys happy to hang out with hundreds of young women dressed to kill. This is the story of Club Mango, housed inside of Head Hunters on K Street in Midtown.

Let me start at the beginning. In 1980, a young football player, Joe Gomez, discovers Bojangles, a bar near the Sacramento State University that serves cheap beer. Joe appreciates cheap beer, so he starts going there fairly regularly. After a while, he notices that there are men dancing together. This is when Joe realizes that he has been going to a gay bar. Not being gay, Joe is a bit surprised, but he does like cheap beer, and he’s enjoying hanging out at this bar.

Unfortunately, this bar is having trouble with idiots wanting to beat up its patrons. Terry Sidie, who owns the bar, believes that Joe could solve his problem. Joe is a big man, 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds. Joe has clearly seen the inside of a weight room. Joe was a middle linebacker who would make any halfback nervous, let alone some drunken fool that wanted to beat up patrons of Sidie’s bar. So, Joe became employed at a very good wage as a bouncer. His muscles were put to work for a good cause.

Fast-forward to November 2012. Sidie has a new problem. It is his gay bar, Head Hunters, across the street from Faces. Head Hunters needs some help. It is a big place with lots of overhead but not many customers. He talks to Joe about it, and Joe suggests the idea of opening up a Latin club with three dance floors.

The club takes off. I mean, it really takes off.

I visited Joe at the club last Saturday and was blown away by the energy and sheer number of people. A young Latin club crowd, dressed to impress. And they were ready to party. There was a line to get in stretching around the corner—and it’s a big place.

Joe told me that there were 800 patrons at Club Mango that night. I complimented him on the professionalism of his bartenders, who were efficiently pouring a massive number of drinks. He spoke highly of his staff, mentioning that many of them had been working there for five or six years. I was surprised. I thought Mango had only been open for almost a year.

“That’s right. The staff is the original Head Hunters’ staff,” Joe replied.

Bartenders from the gay bar Head Hunters, now working for the Latin Club Mango. And a straight middle linebacker, who became a bouncer at the gay bar Bojangles, now managing the place. It’s a great story with some twists and turns. You gotta love it.

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.