Phantom Lounge and Nightclub may open soon downtown at 1014 Fifth Avenue (just north of Broadway). This will be the third Phantom Lounge location in San Diego County. Unlike the two existing businesses, this one will have a full-service restaurant, including beer, wine, spirits, hookah, and live entertainment.
Civic San Diego hearing officer Paul Anderson on October 10 granted a conditional use permit to Phantom Lounge, LLC, and Vigen Hanna, its chairman and CEO. CivicSD had received a letter from San Diego Downtown Residents Group indicating their opposition to the project. Gary Smith, the group’s president, stated they favor limited hours, no “shows,” and strict control of crowds and noise.
The San Diego Police Department recommended on September 25 that CivicSD deny the use permit, saying it would be “detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare of the community and city.” It stated that “the ABC license they are seeking (Type 47) does not allow live entertainment.” The SDPD also said it would be “in the highest crime area and third highest alcohol-related crime area in the city.”
Phantom's location is across the street from the Hotel Palomar, Broadway Lofts, and House of Blues. The Yard House is a block away on Fourth Avenue. And more bars and clubs are located nearby in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Sean Finnegan, redevelopment VP at Aimco, presented the Broadway Lofts’ viewpoint. Finnegan wrote that he's “very concerned” about crowds, noise, and hours of operation.
According to the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, a business with a Type 47 license is technically a “restaurant” and not a nightclub. The proprietor must operate it as a “bona fide eating place...and must make actual and substantial sales of meals for consumption on the premises."
The eatery will have live entertainment, via a disc jockey, but no patron dancing will be allowed. Marco Polo Cortes appeared at the hearing on behalf of Hanna, emphasizing, “We're a restaurant, not a nightclub,” though “nightclub” is part of the proposed establishment’s name. Hanna said he chose the name to make it sound “edgy.” The restaurant will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The property is owned by On Broadway SD Partners, LP. Interior construction of Phantom Lounge has already begun. Owners plan to have operating hours of Sunday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.