Could Saturday be the last show at Brick by Brick?
On Tuesday afternoon rumors started circulating that the venerable Bay Park nightspot was rescheduling some of its shows booked for February.
Tuesday evening Brick by Brick owner Max Paul confirmed that his venue would soon be “closed for remodeling.” He said specifics were being worked out about when the last live show would be (and that it may or may not be Saturday). He confirmed there had been discussions about moving some of the bigger February shows (Michael Schencker on the 14th; Lynch Mob on the 15th; Dio Disciples on the 22nd) to the Ramona Mainstage.
Things started looking bleak in December when the Alcohol Beverage Control Board suspended Brick's license for nonpayment of past sales tax to the state Board of Equalization. That was an indefinite suspension: Brick gets its license back as soon as it pays the B.O.E. what the B.O.E. says it is owed (insiders say the amount is tens of thousands of dollars).
The venue has been honoring its commitment to the live shows it has booked in December and January even though the bar has no booze. Brick patrons can go next door to grab a beer or a glass of wine at the adjacent Bulls BBQ, or they can walk around the block to grab a shot at the Griffin or other nearby bars.
Insiders say it must be difficult for Paul to keep the Brick afloat without liquor sales. His option includes paying the sales tax debt and reopen with a full bar, or, as some say is more likely, he could sell his 48 license and walk away. (A 48 license is sought after because food does not have to be served.)
Jon Mejia of American Liquor License Exchange in Glendale says a 48 license in San Diego would be worth in the $60,000 to $70,000 range.
Chris Haney was one of a trio of owners who in 1993 took over the bar formerly known as the Spirit and renamed it Brick by Brick (named after a 1990 Iggy Pop album).
“This is depressing,” says Haney who now owns the Rook Bar and has formerly owned Kadan and the Radio Room. “I remember we had Ronny James Dio, Ice T with Body Count, Suzanne Vega, and Blue Öyster Cult all in one month.” Haney sold his share in the bar in 1997. “It's tough to do live music right now. Last year we lost Anthology and 4th&B. Now this…”