Three longtime North County music venues are silenced. One promises to return.
The Calypso Mediterranean Cafe in Leucadia had live music since it opened in 1995. Artists such as Jack Tempchin, Candye Kane, Danny Way, and Semisi filled out the seven-night-a-week blues, jazz, Latin, and acoustic lineups. A kitchen fire closed the café in September. Owner Gilles Knafo says complying with city regulations is slowing down Calypso’s reopening. “We have to bring everything up to code now,” says Knafo, noting that previous deviations from building codes, including wheelchair access, had been grandfathered in. The Calypso is located in a former house on Highway 101. “I don’t want to move anywhere else. Leucadia is very low key.”
When the Surf & Saddle closed in November, it left the Belly Up as the only music venue in Solana Beach. A block from the beach, the Surf & Saddle had bands four nights a week.
Co-owner Patti Gilstrap says her lease at the 58-year-old bar was to expire last month. But she had to leave earlier than planned. The state Alcoholic and Beverage Control (ABC) department revoked her license in October because one of her bartenders sold pot on the job. “If it had been some 23-year-old with tattoos and piercings, maybe you could say I made a bad decision in hiring,” says Gilstrap. “But it was a lady in her late 50s who lived in a senior-citizen complex. She had worked for the phone company for 25 years.… She served 90 days at Las Colinas.” Gilstrap says she eventually sold her liquor license to her landlord, who plans to reopen the bar as an Irish pub without music.
For eight years, Tami Ridley hosted blues, acoustic flamenco, and Irish bands at her Spanish restaurant and wine bar in San Marcos, Friar’s Folly. “We were doing well, but I just decided I wanted to take a break for a while.” Ridley never charged admission as she hosted Skelpin, Ruby and the Redhots, Flamenco Nova, Lisa Sanders, and Jimmy Patton Wednesday through Saturday nights.
“My dream is to eventually open up something that would be a cross between the Belly Up and Anthology — more supper club than the Belly Up but not as high-end as Anthology.”
Ridley says the space in Restaurant Row that housed Friar’s Folly has been vacant since she closed last August.