Beachfront venue coming back — as a cantina, not a concert hall
In the past 12 months, 4th&B, Anthology, Kadan, Bar Leucadian, the Metaphor, and Calypso have pulled the plug on live shows.
Now it seems the Mission Beach venue once known as Canes, which hosted Snoop Dogg, Linkin Park, Maroon Five, and Prince over its 13 years as a music showcase, will not be coming back as a concert venue.
“The city really wasn’t too happy with that place as a concert venue,” says Stacy Warner, the spokesperson for Eat.Drink.Sleep, the company that owns and operates Pacific Beach bars Moondoggies and the Dog as well as the Tower 23 and Padre hotels. She tells the Reader that the two-story building to be converted into a Mexican cantina–style restaurant/bar.
She says that a smaller stage will be built in the bar area, but the days of large-stage concerts are over for the building that once hosted 900 music lovers at a time.
Canes was run from 1996 to 2009 by founder Eric Leitstein, who was squeezed out by Belmont Park leaseholder Tom Lochtefeld. Lochtefeld attempted to continue Canes’ success, renaming the club SoundWave. SoundWave failed, as did Lochtefeld, who last year filed for bankruptcy and surrendered the Belmont Park complex to the City of San Diego.
When the venue ended operations, Leitstein said it had 100 employees. The building has been dark for almost two years.
“They are turning the place into a bar like any other bar in P.B., where all the douchebags go to get drunk and get in fights,” says one insider. “There is hardly any live music left in P.B. It’s too bad because [Canes] could have come back from the dead and become the Belly Up South. There’s now less music. Less culture. Less soul.”
The insider admitted that Canes had its share of problems.
“They used to let under-age kids into shows. That’s when they had fights and stabbings. Then, about eight years ago, the city told them, ‘[Ages] 21-and-up only or close down.’ For the two years that it was SoundWave, I don’t think they had any problems...but they also didn’t have much business.”
Eat.Drink.Sleep’s Warner says that the format of the restaurant/bar may change. “We are rushing just to get the place up and running again by the summer.”
Meanwhile, Eat.Drink.Sleep has acquired the adjacent WaveHouse restaurant/surf emporium. Named for its wave-making attraction, the 1100-capacity outdoor venue has hosted summertime concerts by Ziggy Marley, Ozomotli, and Unwritten Law. The WaveHouse last summer started focusing on big-name DJs who would headline well-attended Sunday EDM events.
This summer will be a little different for the WaveHouse, which may be renamed.
“The city prefers that we go less in that concert-venue direction,” Warner says. “That is the direction we are going right now. But nothing is carved [in] stone.”