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Brick runs dry

With Bull’s serving right next door, Brick says the shows go on.
With Bull’s serving right next door, Brick says the shows go on.

“No, I don’t think it’s important at all,” local concert promoter Josh Barnes says when asked about the recent shutdown of liquor sales at Brick by Brick in Linda Vista.

Place

Brick by Brick

1130 Buenos Avenue, San Diego

“The barbecue place is connected to it,” he says with noticeable exasperation. “Unless you’re a raging alcoholic and you need a freakin’ IV or something, I have no problem going next door.”

By next door, Barnes is talking about Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ, an eatery that sells beer and wine that adjoins Brick by Brick. According to public records, on December 13 sales of alcoholic beverages were suspended for a one-year period at the Brick.

Max Paul is listed as the sole owner of the venue. Records indicate the disciplinary action was made at the behest of the State Board of Equalization. Otherwise, the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control license query system shows no other active disciplinary action in place at this time, nor is there any history of same.

Jaret Jahn is Brick by Brick’s general manager. He says the venue’s attorney has advised both he and Paul not to talk about the situation until it is resolved. “I can say that there are no blemishes on our license that caused the temporary suspension,” he emailed, “and that the suspension will be lifted once a financial agreement has been reached.”

Brick by Brick may be the eldest of rock halls in San Diego under continuous operation. In its first life, it was called the Spirit of 76 (later shortened to the Spirit) club, founded by Jerry and Madeline Herrera. Herrera shepherded San Diego’s first original rock scene while staging more lucrative acts such as R.E.M., the Blasters, and Los Lobos. Paul bought the operation over 15 years ago and stayed the course. The short list of touring acts that have appeared there under his tenure includes Godsmack, Blue Öyster Cult, Agent Orange, Ronnie James Dio, and System of a Down.

But profits from bar sales are a venue’s main source of income, and without that revenue stream the future looks grim for a nightclub in a climate of diminishing returns.

Last year saw two powerhouses shutter — Anthology and 4th&B — and the Void on El Cajon Boulevard in Normal Heights is currently dark and undergoing reorganization. Barnes says he even suggested that the Brick reinvent itself as an all-ages venue and leave the beer sales to the barbecue joint next door.

“Those guys, they’ve put everything they’ve got into that place. I talked to Max, and he said he’s getting the license back. He says it’s just a matter of time. And I believe him.”

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With Bull’s serving right next door, Brick says the shows go on.
With Bull’s serving right next door, Brick says the shows go on.

“No, I don’t think it’s important at all,” local concert promoter Josh Barnes says when asked about the recent shutdown of liquor sales at Brick by Brick in Linda Vista.

Place

Brick by Brick

1130 Buenos Avenue, San Diego

“The barbecue place is connected to it,” he says with noticeable exasperation. “Unless you’re a raging alcoholic and you need a freakin’ IV or something, I have no problem going next door.”

By next door, Barnes is talking about Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ, an eatery that sells beer and wine that adjoins Brick by Brick. According to public records, on December 13 sales of alcoholic beverages were suspended for a one-year period at the Brick.

Max Paul is listed as the sole owner of the venue. Records indicate the disciplinary action was made at the behest of the State Board of Equalization. Otherwise, the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control license query system shows no other active disciplinary action in place at this time, nor is there any history of same.

Jaret Jahn is Brick by Brick’s general manager. He says the venue’s attorney has advised both he and Paul not to talk about the situation until it is resolved. “I can say that there are no blemishes on our license that caused the temporary suspension,” he emailed, “and that the suspension will be lifted once a financial agreement has been reached.”

Brick by Brick may be the eldest of rock halls in San Diego under continuous operation. In its first life, it was called the Spirit of 76 (later shortened to the Spirit) club, founded by Jerry and Madeline Herrera. Herrera shepherded San Diego’s first original rock scene while staging more lucrative acts such as R.E.M., the Blasters, and Los Lobos. Paul bought the operation over 15 years ago and stayed the course. The short list of touring acts that have appeared there under his tenure includes Godsmack, Blue Öyster Cult, Agent Orange, Ronnie James Dio, and System of a Down.

But profits from bar sales are a venue’s main source of income, and without that revenue stream the future looks grim for a nightclub in a climate of diminishing returns.

Last year saw two powerhouses shutter — Anthology and 4th&B — and the Void on El Cajon Boulevard in Normal Heights is currently dark and undergoing reorganization. Barnes says he even suggested that the Brick reinvent itself as an all-ages venue and leave the beer sales to the barbecue joint next door.

“Those guys, they’ve put everything they’ve got into that place. I talked to Max, and he said he’s getting the license back. He says it’s just a matter of time. And I believe him.”

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Comments
10

Ooops. Hey Dave what public records are you talking about? The ABC just told me "there is no such thing as a one year suspension." Who told you that? The ABC says they get their license back as soon as they get caught up with the sales tax the Board of Equalization says they owe. Then the ABC will return the license. It is suspended indefinitely, not for one year or any other time period. Also, while I am sure outside promoters would love Samantha from Bewitched to just twitch her nose and make a new all age venue just pop up, those independent promoters don't pay things like rent, payroll, energy bills, liquor/beer companies and sales tax. Bar sales pays the bills. Of course it would be good if Brick could simply start staging all age shows until they can get their liquor license back, but I am told that would not work...that they would have to surrender their 48 license and reapply with the city to become an all age music venue.

Jan. 15, 2014

kenl -- The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control License Query System Summary is a public record that lists the Brick's liquor license as being suspended on Dec 13 2013 for a term of 12 months.

Jan. 15, 2014

One of the best club concerts I have saw was Mojo Nixon at the Spirit - amazing that the venue has kept going for over 37 years.

Jan. 15, 2014

It says no such thing. You are making this up. The ABC only grants licenses for 12 months at a time. A license has to be renewed every 12 months. Look at every other license on the ABC website. Every license has a 12 month shelf life. You assumed something you should not. I REPEAT: the director of the ABC/San Diego says no such 12 month suspension exists, and that Brick by Brick can get theirs back as soon as they pay off their sales tax debt to the BOE. You made a statement based on a wrong assumption. Also, while it was a juicy quote, why are you letting some freelance promoter speak on behalf of the owner when he equates people who go to liquor bars (including Brick by Brick when it served) as people who need to get their drugs by needle injection. Really? Kinda creepy don't ya think?

Jan. 15, 2014

http://www.abc.ca.gov/datport/LQSData.asp?ID=19196852

The site says the suspension is for 12 months and that it's a BOE hold. The term of the license is 12 months in this case running September to September. I'm guessing it says its a 12 month suspension because of a quirk in the form or system, however it does in fact state its a 12 month suspension.

Jan. 16, 2014
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
Jan. 16, 2014

Everyone has a 12 month license. The term of Bricks license apparently started over on Dec. 13. If anyone bothered to call the ABC they would find that this is NOT a ten month suspension. And that the license goes back into effect as soon as the BOE tax is paid. If they take care of it next week, that would be less than two months not 12.

Jan. 17, 2014

I agree with kenl, if you look carefully at the ABC link above, the term of the license is 12 months, not the term of the suspension. The details of the suspension are clearly listed below in the link. However, even kenl is reading it wrong as far as the beginning term date. The status date is the date of suspension, not the beginning of the license term. September term renewal, December suspension for collection hold. I can see how the form can be misinterpreted, but all the info is there.

Jan. 17, 2014

You should make it easier for posters to remove their own comments.

Jan. 17, 2014

If I ever need a PR spokesman, I'm going straight to Josh Barnes.

Jan. 17, 2014

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