OCEANSIDE — Council OK’d full alcohol beverage service, live entertainment and dancing for the downtown Beachside Grill despite three ABC violations less than a year ago. Council approved the permit in a 3-2 vote on Dec. 16, in which Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted no.
The full liquor service, live entertainment and dance permit for Beachside Grill at 215 N. Coast Highway will go into effect in June. This will be a year after the establishment was last cited for an ABC violation. The permit limits full liquor service and live entertainment to the hours of 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. and states any further violation will revoke the permit.
Many have concerns about allowing liquor and live entertainment downtown. Several speakers talked about the problems Oceanside faced in the 1970s. Speakers shared accounts of once commonplace fights, public intoxication and prostitution downtown. “I don’t want us to move backwards and take Oceanside to what it use to be,” Aaron Byzak, president of the North Coastal Prevention Coalition, said.
No one wanted the newly redeveloped downtown to slide back into its old problems of unruliness. “A whole lot of money went to buyout businesses with alcohol licenses,” Sanchez said. “We’re trying to become a more successful downtown. The fact of the matter is there have been problems. I’ve gotten calls and complaints since the very beginning. The community does not support extended hours, a dance floor and music.”
Beachside Grill opened about a year ago and has had a few problems. In addition to ABC violations in February and March there was an unruly incident with a motorcycle gang in May. Business owner Scott Monson said the business has paid the penalties for past business problems and learned from those experiences.
“The applicants are the first to admit they made a mistake,” Councilman Jerry Kern said. “March 15 was the last ABC violation. I’m willing to give them an opportunity.”
Some speakers were not convinced that problems are over. “Now is not the right time to grant a full license for liquor,” Erica Leary, program manager of North Coastal Prevention Coalition, said. “It was visited four times, and had three violations. ABC rarely investigates businesses without problems that warrant it. Liquor and dancing creates problems.”
There was also the concern that the OK to allow full alcohol service and live entertainment downtown will set a precedent for other businesses. “The next person is going to be saying I want the same deal,” Wood said. “I’m really concerned about sending the wrong message.”
Others supported the Beachside Grill and praised it as a good community fit.
The conditions of the Beachside Grill entertainment permit will be presented to council early next year.