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Come to the Cabaret

“San Diego stands poised to rival such musically friendly cities as Austin, Texas,” says Rafter drummer Andy Robillard, who recently took over booking the Ruby Room. “Now if only we could get those archaic cabaret laws [requiring special permits for dancing] changed. Without those cabaret laws, we could put on a South by Southwest–style festival that could bring millions into our economy annually.”

New owners Sean and Brittni Cute opened the 181-capacity Ruby Room last October in the Hillcrest space formerly occupied by the San Diego Sports Club (and, long before that, Peacock Alley, reportedly the city’s first all-black gay bar).

Robillard — a vet of the Album Leaf and Gogogo Airheart — has tended bar for 12 years at the Casbah, where weekly Anti-Monday League concerts have proven a dependable draw. On Memorial Day, the Ruby Room launched its own no-charge Monday-night residency series, alternately featuring the China Clippers, the Styletones, and Ben Moore (Pocket).

“We in no way view ourselves as competing with the Casbah,” says Robillard. “I still tend bar there on Thursdays and Sundays. We may have similar lineups on occasion, but the Casbah is a legendary venue on par with CBGBs or the Knitting Factory, and trying to compete with that is a recipe for failure. [Owner] Tim Mays has a golden ear. Me, I’m nobody special. I’m just trying to follow his example, curating interesting, creative, and artistic entertainment.”

Upcoming events include a June 10 Metal Fest with six groups (“Did you even know there were six metal bands in San Diego?”) and a June 20 stopover by the Found magazine tour, along with locals Ghost Bird and Republic of Letters.

“The Found show runs two hours with music, a short play, sword-swallowing, and comedy. I really wanted this show — it’s an almost frightening, voyeuristic peek into the American psyche.

“And dancing is encouraged. We have a full cabaret license.”

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“San Diego stands poised to rival such musically friendly cities as Austin, Texas,” says Rafter drummer Andy Robillard, who recently took over booking the Ruby Room. “Now if only we could get those archaic cabaret laws [requiring special permits for dancing] changed. Without those cabaret laws, we could put on a South by Southwest–style festival that could bring millions into our economy annually.”

New owners Sean and Brittni Cute opened the 181-capacity Ruby Room last October in the Hillcrest space formerly occupied by the San Diego Sports Club (and, long before that, Peacock Alley, reportedly the city’s first all-black gay bar).

Robillard — a vet of the Album Leaf and Gogogo Airheart — has tended bar for 12 years at the Casbah, where weekly Anti-Monday League concerts have proven a dependable draw. On Memorial Day, the Ruby Room launched its own no-charge Monday-night residency series, alternately featuring the China Clippers, the Styletones, and Ben Moore (Pocket).

“We in no way view ourselves as competing with the Casbah,” says Robillard. “I still tend bar there on Thursdays and Sundays. We may have similar lineups on occasion, but the Casbah is a legendary venue on par with CBGBs or the Knitting Factory, and trying to compete with that is a recipe for failure. [Owner] Tim Mays has a golden ear. Me, I’m nobody special. I’m just trying to follow his example, curating interesting, creative, and artistic entertainment.”

Upcoming events include a June 10 Metal Fest with six groups (“Did you even know there were six metal bands in San Diego?”) and a June 20 stopover by the Found magazine tour, along with locals Ghost Bird and Republic of Letters.

“The Found show runs two hours with music, a short play, sword-swallowing, and comedy. I really wanted this show — it’s an almost frightening, voyeuristic peek into the American psyche.

“And dancing is encouraged. We have a full cabaret license.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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