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Want to play the arena?

Witkin and Hahn buck the trend with a new nightly music venue.
Witkin and Hahn buck the trend with a new nightly music venue.

San Diego’s live-music venue options have been shrinking over the past five years. Bucking that trend is the arrival of a new venue — within a venue. While it still does not have an name, the 200-capacity backstage VIP Lounge at the Valley View Casino Center is about to start hosting local bands.

The arrangement follows an agreement between long-time Valley View Casino Center/Sports Arena vice president/general manager Ernie Hahn and Brian Witkin, founder and CEO of Pacific Records, a record label based in nearby offices behind the all-ages SOMA nightspot.

Witkin says the two have yet to settle on a name, but he says one could be “the Ramp,” the arena’s cement incline where touring bands load in. That ramp was featured prominently in the movie Almost Famous when local rock writer Cameron Crowe and various groupies got backstage access. The lounge is adjacent to the ramp as you enter the building.

Witkin will provide bands to play the lounge during major concerts as well as during off-nights, when Hahn and Witkin hope to develop a stand-alone venue.

Witkin says the arrangement was realized May 21, when Lito Romero played a VIP lounge show during headliner Romeo Santos’s concert. He says local pop band Social Club will play the same VIP lounge arrangement at Cher’s July 11 show. Both Romero and Social Club record for Pacific Records. Witkin says his arrangement calls for him to program at least six more VIP lounge shows for major-name headliners during a trial period.

“One of the neatest things the bands get out of this is they get to say they were opening acts for the headliners,” Witkin tells the Reader.

Witkin says that within six weeks he hopes to have the venue up and running as a stand-alone nightspot.

“We eventually want to have entertainment every night of the week,” says Witkin, a 28-year-old Torrey Pines High graduate and former assistant manager of the all-ages Epicentre in Mira Mesa. Witkin says the new venue will be for those 21 and up and that he wants to hear from all artists who want to play both the VIP shows and the regular nights.

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Witkin and Hahn buck the trend with a new nightly music venue.
Witkin and Hahn buck the trend with a new nightly music venue.

San Diego’s live-music venue options have been shrinking over the past five years. Bucking that trend is the arrival of a new venue — within a venue. While it still does not have an name, the 200-capacity backstage VIP Lounge at the Valley View Casino Center is about to start hosting local bands.

The arrangement follows an agreement between long-time Valley View Casino Center/Sports Arena vice president/general manager Ernie Hahn and Brian Witkin, founder and CEO of Pacific Records, a record label based in nearby offices behind the all-ages SOMA nightspot.

Witkin says the two have yet to settle on a name, but he says one could be “the Ramp,” the arena’s cement incline where touring bands load in. That ramp was featured prominently in the movie Almost Famous when local rock writer Cameron Crowe and various groupies got backstage access. The lounge is adjacent to the ramp as you enter the building.

Witkin will provide bands to play the lounge during major concerts as well as during off-nights, when Hahn and Witkin hope to develop a stand-alone venue.

Witkin says the arrangement was realized May 21, when Lito Romero played a VIP lounge show during headliner Romeo Santos’s concert. He says local pop band Social Club will play the same VIP lounge arrangement at Cher’s July 11 show. Both Romero and Social Club record for Pacific Records. Witkin says his arrangement calls for him to program at least six more VIP lounge shows for major-name headliners during a trial period.

“One of the neatest things the bands get out of this is they get to say they were opening acts for the headliners,” Witkin tells the Reader.

Witkin says that within six weeks he hopes to have the venue up and running as a stand-alone nightspot.

“We eventually want to have entertainment every night of the week,” says Witkin, a 28-year-old Torrey Pines High graduate and former assistant manager of the all-ages Epicentre in Mira Mesa. Witkin says the new venue will be for those 21 and up and that he wants to hear from all artists who want to play both the VIP shows and the regular nights.

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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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