Bars Being Questioned After Questionable Video Shown At Meeting
The video, a time lapse from a videographer hired by the city, showed one night on the pier, a Saturday night in early September. It started out all nice and pleasant with kids playing and a spectacular sunset, then after dark showed a drunk guy stumbling down the plaza, found a fight, some beer bottles on the ground and a guy taking a leak in the parking garage.
This has the city discussing what measures it can take to curb “often rowdy and intoxicated patrons in the downtown area during the late night hours,” according to Nico De Anda-Scaia, assistant to the city manager.
The meeting was held during a discussion of the subcommittee’s proposed Downtown Enhancement Plan.
The video was interpreted by some at the meeting as disturbing. But what it really showed was that there’s a few undesirables who go to Pier Plaza. One guy walked around like he was just itching to get in a fight and eventually he found one (being careful to stay out of the main fray but getting in a few cheap kicks, by the way).
It also seemed to go out of its way – by carefully editing certain shots – to be slanted to prove a point that the pier is out of control.
“Let the pictures say what they say because I’m certain people are going to say that we’re trying to characterize a certain point of view,” Councilmember Jeff Duclos acknowledged at the meeting.
By contrast, PubClub has a video showing Pier Plaza completely dead; it was shot on a Friday night in the late summer at 11 p.m. There’s hardly a soul on the pier and most of the bars are so empty you can see right through them, as if they were skeletons or you’re looking at them through an X-ray machine.
There is no doubt that there are a few undesirable troublemakers who go to the pier. The solution is to minimize the number of those troublemakers, not put more restrictions on the bars. One way to do this is to this is by changing the music played in the bars.
At night, starting at about 10, the three most popular bars on Pier Plaza – American Junkie, Patrick Molloy’s and Sharkeez – play club music, which tends to attract troublemakers and is more suited for Vegas nightclubs than the small Hermosa bars.
That music also attracts people – mostly young, fun and harmless souls– because it’s so popular, and bars want to attract customers. But it also brings with it a few people with an “edge,” and they are root of the problems on the pier.
If the city and the bars are to come to a compromise, it’s PubClub’s opinion that this is the biggest issue for them to address. Putting handcuffs on the bars will only turn away locals, who are the real lifeblood of the bars on a regular basis.
The city has already imposed a closing time of 1:30 a.m., for the bars, which means last call is at 1:15. Bar employees take drinks out of people’s hands and send them out of the building at 1:30.
Bars also face extreme scrutiny from the city, including restricting the size of patios and not allowing any upstairs balconies for places that have ground-floor businesses.
“We don’t want the lawsuits, we don’t want the wrong people coming. I think there’s enough cooperation between all of us; we’re willing to do just about anything,” Ron Newman, who along with his son Greg owns Sharkeez, Tower 12 andPalmilla Cocina y Tequilla said at the meeting.