Long Beach City Council Allows Permit For Live Entertainment and Dancing
One of the issues with being a successful bar is dealing with, well, issues.
Just ask Ron and Greg Newman, co-owners of the popular Southern California cantinas Sharkeez. They also own Panama Joe’s, the same style of bar with a different name in Long Beach’s cool Belmont Shore area. And on a Tuesday night in July, the entertainment license for PJs was up for renewal by the city council. And, eventually, the license was granted. Unanimously.
The party can continue. But is it really a party? PJ’s is fun and has some wild-sounding promotions, but for the most part it’s a busy bar with cut-loose atmosphere that’s appealing enough that on Fridays and Saturdays there’s always a line at least a half a block long down Second Street. A party? Well, yes. A wild party? Heck no. Anyone who calls it a wild party has never been to Austin, Texas, Bourbon Street in New Orleans, even Duke’s on Sunday in Waikiki.
But to some, PJ’s is all that and more, and the license was granted with a scroll of stipulations. As is the case when discussions of bars come before city councils, some do-gooders want board up the doors with the mistaken believe that people having a few cocktails represents wild party behavior, while others provide more reasonable remarks.
Usually, the do-gooders outnumber the reasonable people because the former go to city council meetings while the latter are out having fun in the places being discussed, but in the case of Panama Joe’s, there was a good bit of support. One came from another Belmont Shore bar owner, Eric Johnson of Legends. And this from a resident, words that every city council should hear when such things come up in cities and towns across America:
“I feel like I’m in Footloose trying to decide if a bar should have entertainment,” Eric Branner said. “That seems like the place where there should be entertainment. Yet it seems like we’re starting to run Second Street like Mayberry.”
The Long Beach Police, who have other more important issues to deal with, apparently like the idea of Second Street being more like Mayberry, for it created a 30-page report on the sinful behavior PJ’s patrons were bringing to Belmont Shore.
Certainly, no one wants the police to be running to a bar all the time when they should be elsewhere chasing down criminals. But I’ve been to PJ’s several times – as well as all the Sharkeez locations – and never have witnessed anything that requires any more than a security guard to handle. I’m not there all the time, of course, but for the most part Belmont Shore is a fun place to go out and it’s certainly safe. Thirty pages for a report is not just excessive, it’s unnecessary.
It’s good to see the entertainment license renewed. It’s just for year and no doubt PJ’s will be going through the same thing this time next year.