This sparkling bar, the Griffin, is up for sale — again. What gives?
  • This sparkling bar, the Griffin, is up for sale — again. What gives?
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There are a couple of significant changes afoot on the local music-venue front, as Belly Up in Solana Beach is about to announce a new talent buyer and the Griffin in Bay Park is up for sale.

Belly Up Tavern

143 S. Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach

The Belly Up’s talent-buyer position became available when Eric Milhouse left last month to rejoin Golden Voice, the Los Angeles concert company that created Coachella and is part of the AEG concert conglomerate. Milhouse will now book Club Nokia in Los Angeles and the Fox Theater in Pomona, each of which has a capacity of about 2000. The Belly Up holds 800.

When the House of Blues opened downtown in 2005, some wondered how the independent Belly Up would fare with talent acquisition since House of Blues is part of a national chain with more buying power. The Belly Up has continued to thrive due partly to the desirability of the venue and the artists who play there. Chris Goldsmith oversees the programming and marketing for the Belly Up. He says he will make the announcement soon. “We don’t need any more candidates [to apply]. We will pick from the group we have narrowed down.” He says at any given time the venue has 100 dates booked. “The latest show we have on the books is World Party on June 29.”

KPBS-TV will air an hour special on January 24 featuring live Belly Up shows by the Drowning Men and Candye Kane. Goldsmith, a Grammy-winning producer, has also announced the launching of Belly Up’s own record label, Belly Up Live, which will feature live shows recorded at the Belly Up Taverns in Solana Beach and Aspen.

“We will have our own [internet] delivery system,” Goldsmith told the Reader. He said the $5.99 albums available on Belly Up Live will be cheaper than albums purchased on iTunes.

The Griffin

1310 Morena Boulevard, Linda Vista

(No longer in business.)

Meanwhile, the Griffin is listed for sale for $215,000. A new buyer would also have to assume a monthly rent of $5000-plus. Leasing agent Paul Ahern and Griffin talent-buyer Joe Rinaldi would not disclose any specifics about the sale of the bar.

An insider says the Griffin’s value is tied to its alcohol license, a so-called “48” license, which means it can have a full bar and not have to serve food. “It’s what they used to call a cocktail-lounge license, and they just aren’t issuing them anymore,” says the insider. “The police won’t approve them anymore. There are only a handful left. It’s a dinosaur. But that’s why they are so valuable.”

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