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There are new drinks, including a menu of “signature cocktails.” The cheapest of these is a “No. 4” (Hoegaarden, Monin Lemon, 7UP, and a lemon squeeze) at $4, and their most expensive, a “No. 7” (Grey Goose La Poire, St. Germain, Kenwood Yulupa sparkling wine), is $8. Beer is $4 a pop for draft Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, Sapporo, Newcastle, and Boddingtons, while bottled beers are $3–$4.

The remodel — and entire purchasing process — took under three months, a time frame that according to former bartender Richard “T-Bone” Larson put employees of the old Scolari’s in an unpleasant limbo.

“We heard different things,” he says. “Like, oh, he’s going to fire everybody; oh, he’s going to keep everything the same; oh, he’s going to change it into a reggae club. As it got closer to [when] the sale was going to be final, they canceled all the shows kind of abruptly, and I still had about two months’ worth of shows and touring bands from all over the world scheduled to play at Scolari’s. We had to find a home for them.”

After that, Larson quit, but many others stayed until a few months later, when they were let go.

“It was kind of ugly for a long time,” Larson says. “They gave us all these lame reasons why they couldn’t have shows anymore. ‘We’re being investigated by the cops, we’re getting noise complaints.’ All those things turned out to be false, according to what I’ve heard.”

And they are false, says Lithopoulos. The reason for the cancellation of the bands, he claims, was simple: George Scolari didn’t see the point in renewing his cabaret license — the permit that allows an establishment to have deejays and put on live shows — for the short time it would take for the sale to go through.

“The legality and reality is that it’s just as simple as that,” Lithopolous says. “[Scolari] just simply chose not to renew for a short length of time. Nothing more. The sale was going through within 20 days anyway, so once it went through, we renovated, [and] I got the license.”

The closing of Scolari’s, Larson says, put a lot of people out of work, himself included. After tending bar at Scolari’s for eight years, he thought he had found a new home at Chaser’s in City Heights until that, too, closed in late August, after being purchased by the owners of the Bluefoot Bar in North Park.

“The only indication we had is that for about a week [the previous owner] didn’t stock some of the call liquor, so we’re thinking, ‘Wow, this is kind of weird,’ ” Larson reports. “We were out of pretty much every kind of vodka.”

Eventually, the alcohol came in, but the suspicion was already there. Not long after, the bar shut down. Once again, Larson had to scramble to find venues for the bands lined up to play at Chaser’s, just as he’d had to do at Scolari’s.

The fate of Chaser’s, Larson says, has been somewhat decided. He reports that the new owners plan to keep it a rock club and will reopen after a six-month remodel.

He will not, he says, reapply to work there; the experience has left a bad taste in his mouth.

“I talked to them,” he says, speaking of the new owners. “[One] gave me his card, and he was, like, ‘I know this is really hard for you guys. I know it’s hard on the bands, but it’s a decision we had to make.’ Real businessman-speak. You know how people talk in the business world. I felt it was like a corporate takeover kind of thing. [They were] being [really] placating, but all in all, it’s about business for them.”

Though he thinks the new owners will stick to their word and keep it a rock club, Larson doesn’t think they’re “getting off on a very good foot.”

He elaborates. “Canceling all these shows with no notice is no way to start a venue. I mean, they could have let us finish the shows there or something. They could have done a lot of things [to make] an easier transition.”

The owners of Bluefoot, Adam Cook and Cuong Nguyen, did not return calls for comment.

Back over in North Park, another bar aside from the Office is getting a complete makeover. The pool hall-cum-nightclub known as Shooterz is currently undergoing construction. The front wall and interior have been completely demolished.

This is the work of Eric Lingenfelder and his team, the Verant Group, who own the Tavern in Pacific Beach and Sandbar in Mission Beach, as well as several other locations in Arizona and Georgia. Lingenfelder purchased Shooterz in January and has just begun breaking ground on the construction of his new venture, which will be called True North.

“I started attending the Main Street district meetings,” Lingenfelder says, “[and] the design committee meetings, trying to get a feel for what the community, one, was looking for, and two, what the environment was.” We’re sitting at a conference table in his office on Morena Place. “Were they pro-business, do they want more bars and restaurants? What are they trying to do with North Park? I could see it from my side, but it was a matter of trying to see what the business district [wanted].”

The biggest piece of advice Lingenfelder took from the meetings with Main Street was that North Park needed more open-air dining-and-drinking spaces. With this in mind, he incorporated a streetside patio into his blueprints, which he displays on his laptop.

The plan for True North, construction-wise, is to take out the wall that used to divide Shooterz down the middle and create one big space with a horseshoe-shaped bar in the center, something Lingenfelder says creates “good energy.” The blueprint shows banks of tables and booths on either side of the bar, a small dance floor/deejay booth in the back, and a second outdoor patio to the left of the bar’s entrance.

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Comments

basilisk Feb. 4, 2009 @ 11:21 p.m.

A couple of comments:

  1. The Office, $7 for a Jack Daniels and water is not a good price. The place does look good Though.

  2. Bluefoot, Lousy acoustics and too many TVs. But lots of women go there.

  3. U-31, they have the same clientele as Buster Daly's did. Plus the metal ceiling does not sound very good.

  4. Pink Elephant, my favorite. You can hold a conversation there.

I am still exploring.

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bluenwhitegokart Feb. 5, 2009 @ 3:41 a.m.

I never went to the Office because the women were there...I went to drink and shoot the s***.

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rbtpdr Feb. 5, 2009 @ 5:57 p.m.

The Soda Bar, or the old Chaser's has been opened up for months now. You can just drive right by and see it! A+ reporting!

As far as "The Office" goes, I've checked it out. The place makes me sick. It's nothing like Scolari's Office. Anyone in their right mind should have known that those changes were not going to fly with the PBR crowd. If Lithopoulos wanted to keep the regulars he should at least have bands play all the time instead of pointless DJs. And it's once your in there for a minute, the whole thing is just kind of boring and it feels incredibly forced. It's not as nice as some downtown place, you can't justify paying $5 for a well whiskey and coke when there's no touring bands playing, it's too dark, the clientele sucks, the bartenders suck, the suit wearing doorman sucks.

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JamieRoxx Feb. 5, 2009 @ 10:55 p.m.

Personally as someone who lives across the street from the Office, I have to say the remodel is a great improvement. The bottom line is "the PBR" crowd did not spend any money. I know that everyone assumes that these bars were open and in business just so that people could hang out, and bands that no one had ever heard of could play. No people they were there to make money.

And as far as everyone freaking out...well open your own bar. Of course that would take a little more than sitting around bitching about your lost clubhouse.

Give me a break. NorthPark is looking good...finally.

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rbtpdr Feb. 6, 2009 @ 2:23 a.m.

How's living in an ugly condo complex working out for your JamieRoxx?

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rbtpdr Feb. 6, 2009 @ 2:24 a.m.

JamieRoxx is pissed John Tesh never played at Scolari's

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rbtpdr Feb. 6, 2009 @ 2:41 a.m.

And since Yelp.com is the be all end all of how much a place matters:

Scolari's has 3 1/2 stars http://www.yelp.com/biz/scolaris-office-san-diego

The Office has 3 stars http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-office-bar-san-diego

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weeee Feb. 6, 2009 @ 3:31 a.m.

Well, when JamieRoxx moved into the groundfloor of a $400K+ glorified haphazard apartment via a subprime loan, she probably had no idea that her condo would lose half of its value within 2 years.

The Office, for all intents and purposes, is failing. Mr. Lithopoulos probably didn't realize that a cool million bucks doesn't equate to charm, a large group of regulars, or being able to turn a profit. I'm pretty sure that he's been on the record about not wanting the old crowd back, which is funny now when he's imploring the old regulars to at least try coming back. See, the thing that made North Park cool in the first place was the music. Scolaris never had a cover, even when you were going to see relatively popular bands playing an intimate venue. You could walk to Scolaris, and see awesome or awful bands play, for free. Meanwhile, the bar would pay the bands from the bar. So, bands would be paid quite well, people would show up just because they didn't have to pay for the privilege, and the bar would make tons of cash because everyone was able to stumble home, safely. This was when DJ nights were a relatively rare thing in North Park. Now you can go and pay more money to hear someone's "eclectic" playlist. If there are 5 bars having DJs on the same night, then nothing is unique or "eclectic", which was the North Park buzzword... circa 2008.

Theres a certain kind of uptight, self-righteous, extroverted pricks that do reviews on Yelp.com. Please don't dream up business plans from just those kinds of people... they'll be the first to come and tell you how rad of a job you've done before being attracted to whatever douchey "thing" is next. Lets all eat sushi off of naked Suicide Girls while DJ McDouche spins some eclectic urban oontz oontz funkpunk piano beatz in a Guantanamo-style cage suspending over lasers and water in City Heights before the Gaslamp picks up on it!

In all seriousness, Mr. Heaney did the right thing, which is why I walk to the Radio Room every weekend. If he paid bands from the bar, and not from covers, then I'd be all set. Make live music a threat again.

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Jose619 Feb. 6, 2009 @ 7:59 a.m.

Agreed. The Office sucks balls now. Same thing happened to second wind on ECB. It used to be a neighborhood dive joint, with a bunch of locals, but since the dude bought it and made it "Gilly's", it is now a boring Karoake bar with a bunch of college yuppies who play kickball. Thank God for Tobacco Rhonda's and the Amigo Spot!!!!

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adamcrisis Feb. 6, 2009 @ 5:25 p.m.

Lets all eat sushi off of naked Suicide Girls while DJ McDouche spins some eclectic urban oontz oontz funkpunk piano beatz in a Guantanamo-style cage suspending over lasers and water in City Heights before the Gaslamp picks up on it!

HAHAHAHA!

RAD

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adamcrisis Feb. 6, 2009 @ 5:27 p.m.

also for the record...sometimes an "upgrade' is a bullshart term to disguise a useless money gouge

upgrade my balls Mr Lithopoulos

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Fred Williams Feb. 6, 2009 @ 7:05 p.m.

It's Friday Night...those sushi bellied beauties have only about an hour to live and I'm hungry.

Rest assured I'll have along condoms, goggles and earplugs. You can't be too safe in North Park...especially when McDouche is resonating oontz oontz, the lasers flash and walls shake - faux furniture falls forward and doomed damsels dash dire plans, slipping sashimi, spilling the soy-wasabi down to their...

Mmmmm...

Thanks for the tip!

Rev. Dr. Fred "Fish" Williams Rector and Docent; Faith Always Reviving Tabernacle Director; Churches Allied for Spiritual Hope 202 Bullshart Street San Diego, CA 92101

All you desperate bar hopping posers, you who want to change your lives...

Make your checks and money orders out to the Churches Allied for Spiritual Hope, or simply "C.A.S.H."

Our first task is to sample all the vice and pretension so rampant in San Diego first hand. Your generous donations, along with the Fine Food For Fred Fund (5F) and Parents Eternally Rejecting Vulgar Eroticism (PERVE) support this important mission.

Give now and from your heart to help me confront this lifestyle to which none of you should ever be exposed. Though I sacrifice and risk all, it's in humble service to a greater cause.

Peace upon you my children. I eagerly await your donations.

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adamcrisis Feb. 7, 2009 @ 10:50 a.m.

Beautiful Mr Williams, I got a little blurry eyed reading it.

And as funny as it was, I think the true joke is someone spending a million boners on "The Office".

30th and University might be the new Meryl Lynch.

For those curious or out of the loop. The Radio Room is a good spot and kudos to the owner for keeping with the theme and not trying to open some new crap hole that wants to cater to the collars up crowd coughSoda Barcough.

Also the Ken Club, The Alibi, and The Tower are still out there to be enjoyed, where one can get his load on and not drop all his kitty.

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