Gringos Cantina in Pacific Beach advertised a Cinco de Mayo party for weeks; the restaurant intended to hold it in their parking lot – very close to the beach – on Saturday, May 3. Because they held a similar event last year, bar management proceeded with contracting for fencing, a stage, and a PA system in order to host local reggae band High Tide. Two days before the party, the police department said it wouldn’t be happening.

SDPD Lt. Dan Christman of special event operations says, “We canceled the permit because they did not get their application before the respective community groups to allow the community to give input as to whether the event should proceed.”

Jennifer Perkins, who handles promotions for Gringos, did not return a request for comment.

High Tide manager Chris Behar says, “They had this exact same event last year. It’s right across the street from the 710 Club, so it’s a pretty rowdy neighborhood to begin with. But the city is on a kick to really crack down on anything alcohol-related on the beach.”

Since the beach booze ban took effect in January, High Tide bass player Chris Murray was cited for having an open Heineken on the beach (he paid the $250 fine). The band subsequently recorded “Ban the Ban,” and last week they started giving away free copies at shows.

“They have a real agenda to dry up the beach,” says Murray. “Now they are pushing into the establishments near the beach. Come on. We have beaches and colleges and universities here. This is a young people’s town, but they are responding to the wealthy people who are moving in down here. It seems like the city government and police want a lockdown on the whole neighborhood.”

High Tide appears at a ’Canes daytime show on May 25.

– Ken Leighton

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