Cocaine is the reason there is one less local music venue.
The Bar Leucadian on Highway 101 began serving a 45-day liquor license suspension July 2 due to sales of cocaine at the bar last summer. A sheriff’s department press release says undercover deputies purchased cocaine four times last year over a four-month period.
The head of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) for North County, Melissa Beach, made the move to suspend the Leucadian’s ability to present music. Beach says she can’t recall if an ABC administrator ever took action to suspend live music based on drug sales.
“I’m totally bummed to see that place go,” says Mark Stuart, founder/frontman of Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash. “We were one of the very last bands to play there.”
Stuart says the bar’s roadhouse feel was a perfect match for the Bastard Sons. “We had that place jumpin’. It was not upscale at all. It was known for its stiff drinks and bad carpeting.
“From what I understand,” says Stuart, “that was one of the last areas of North County that still has not lost its funkiness. You’ve heard ‘Keep Austin Weird.’ That bar was keeping North County funky.”
What was unclear was whether Bar Leucadian employees sold coke. The North County Times reported that “investigators purchased cocaine from employees and patrons.” But Beach says that the person who was arrested over the bust, Daniel Beans, was not a Leucadian employee. But, “The employees were involved in the sale.” Beach declined to get into specifics.
Beach says in order to keep its license, Bar Leucadian had to agree to no live music, a midnight closing time, security guards, and the 45-day suspension. Beach says that bar owners have the right to challenge the penalty by taking the case before an administrative judge.
An attorney who declined to be identified but was aware of ABC workings says that by agreeing to these conditions the bar avoided harsher sanctions. “The ABC could have said, for instance, ‘Take this or we’ll make you sell your bar in 180 days.’”
Efforts to reach bar owner Martin Van Rosendaal were unsuccessful. Beach says that after a three-year probationary period, the bar could ask to get its live music back.
The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash appear on August 5 at Scripps Park in La Jolla. The 2 p.m. show is free and open to all ages.