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Deano’s will pay the price for live music in La Mesa

“Why do I have to be part of your regular crew to have fun?”

Dean Velasco: building a band-friendly spot in East County.
Dean Velasco: building a band-friendly spot in East County.

La Mesa goes live : “My mom was on welfare,” says Dean Velasco, who was raised in a La Mesa household with little money. “We had government cheese, and when we ran out of that, it was mayonnaise and bread. I worked my whole life to get something. My wife has been with me for 29 years. When we met, I had a scooter. We had 75 cents, and we would put gas in it and drive around San Diego and do all the free stuff.”

Place

Deano's Pub

5286 Baltimore Drive, San Diego

Velasco’s current day job involves working as a senior staff engineer doing system architecture for a local tech company. He works there 50-plus hours a week, and is currently adding to that tally as he opens Deano’s Pub, his new bar in La Mesa’s Baltimore West shopping center. It’s operating in the spot formerly occupied by The Alibi. “I know how to work,” he explains while preparing the club. “I’m in here doing all my own drywall. I’ve been in here every day, cleaning and scraping walls and trying to make this place look a little different, because I don’t want people to think I’m opening up Alibi 2.0.”

Velasco is hoping to do his part to add to the East County live music scene, which some people see as trailing far behind downtown, mid-city, and the beaches when it comes to bars featuring live acts. He has a history of managing the local pop-punk outfit Look Up Here and their predecessor Zero2nonE, and is well-versed in the often-fraught relationship between bar owners and musicians.

He’s adamant that Deano’s will treat their talent well. “I’m a fan of local music and small bands that are out there for the grind. I’m gonna be band-friendly here. When bands come, they are going to get paid. They are not going to sell tickets. We’re not doing ticket sales.” He plans to book some of the acts that play Full Circle Saloon in Santee. He’s close with that venue’s owner, Michelle Bailey, and is already referring to Deano’s Pub as Full Circle’s “little sister bar.” Those acts include rock cover bands such as 8FIVE8, Serious Guise, and Sonic Moonshine.

It is perhaps worth noting that, before the pandemic, Velasco served as DJ on the largest float in the Pride parade for four consecutive years. So while he is a DJ himself, and while he knows that DJs have slowly been replacing live music on Friday and Saturday nights in the west, he knows East County, and his plan is to lock in bands for weekend nights. “I want to be careful of DJs, the traditional ‘thump-thump-thump’ DJs,” he says, “because I don’t think that’s the demographic that’s in the neighborhood, and I don’t think that’s what people might necessarily want here. I’m not turned off to that idea, I just don’t know if I’m going to go with EDM [Electronic Dance Music] kind of DJs. If I go with DJs, it’s gonna be somebody that plays the music that people like to listen to, ‘80s and ‘90s and that kind of stuff. Not so much the club vibe.”

He does note that the music will play second fiddle to the main focus of the pub, which is to serve as a bar where all are welcome. That last bit is important: Velasco is very involved with the LGBT community. But he’s quick to stress that it extends even beyond that. “Everybody reverts back to high school and their feelings on the first day of high school. I was a drama nerd. I loved drama, and I loved the theater and all that. I wanted it to be: if you’re a drama nerd, you can come in here and still feel cool and have a cool place to hang out. Many times, I feel like you have to be part of a clique to go into some of the places around here. I just want to come in and have fun. Why do I have to be part of your regular crew to have fun?”

Past Event

I-90

  • Saturday, February 5, 2022, 8 p.m.
  • Deano's Pub, 5286 Baltimore Drive, San Diego
  • 21+

The venue has already had a soft opening, with an official grand opening planned for the first week of February. "We don't have happy hour right now. We have everyday specials $5 Jamison shots, $5 Deano’s house shots, and $3 PBR. So we are starting to book bands. Last Friday, we had Z Matrix and The Hammerheads. It was awesome. Original bands with a little mix if covers. Our grand opening on February 5th, we have I90 playing."

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Dean Velasco: building a band-friendly spot in East County.
Dean Velasco: building a band-friendly spot in East County.

La Mesa goes live : “My mom was on welfare,” says Dean Velasco, who was raised in a La Mesa household with little money. “We had government cheese, and when we ran out of that, it was mayonnaise and bread. I worked my whole life to get something. My wife has been with me for 29 years. When we met, I had a scooter. We had 75 cents, and we would put gas in it and drive around San Diego and do all the free stuff.”

Place

Deano's Pub

5286 Baltimore Drive, San Diego

Velasco’s current day job involves working as a senior staff engineer doing system architecture for a local tech company. He works there 50-plus hours a week, and is currently adding to that tally as he opens Deano’s Pub, his new bar in La Mesa’s Baltimore West shopping center. It’s operating in the spot formerly occupied by The Alibi. “I know how to work,” he explains while preparing the club. “I’m in here doing all my own drywall. I’ve been in here every day, cleaning and scraping walls and trying to make this place look a little different, because I don’t want people to think I’m opening up Alibi 2.0.”

Velasco is hoping to do his part to add to the East County live music scene, which some people see as trailing far behind downtown, mid-city, and the beaches when it comes to bars featuring live acts. He has a history of managing the local pop-punk outfit Look Up Here and their predecessor Zero2nonE, and is well-versed in the often-fraught relationship between bar owners and musicians.

He’s adamant that Deano’s will treat their talent well. “I’m a fan of local music and small bands that are out there for the grind. I’m gonna be band-friendly here. When bands come, they are going to get paid. They are not going to sell tickets. We’re not doing ticket sales.” He plans to book some of the acts that play Full Circle Saloon in Santee. He’s close with that venue’s owner, Michelle Bailey, and is already referring to Deano’s Pub as Full Circle’s “little sister bar.” Those acts include rock cover bands such as 8FIVE8, Serious Guise, and Sonic Moonshine.

It is perhaps worth noting that, before the pandemic, Velasco served as DJ on the largest float in the Pride parade for four consecutive years. So while he is a DJ himself, and while he knows that DJs have slowly been replacing live music on Friday and Saturday nights in the west, he knows East County, and his plan is to lock in bands for weekend nights. “I want to be careful of DJs, the traditional ‘thump-thump-thump’ DJs,” he says, “because I don’t think that’s the demographic that’s in the neighborhood, and I don’t think that’s what people might necessarily want here. I’m not turned off to that idea, I just don’t know if I’m going to go with EDM [Electronic Dance Music] kind of DJs. If I go with DJs, it’s gonna be somebody that plays the music that people like to listen to, ‘80s and ‘90s and that kind of stuff. Not so much the club vibe.”

He does note that the music will play second fiddle to the main focus of the pub, which is to serve as a bar where all are welcome. That last bit is important: Velasco is very involved with the LGBT community. But he’s quick to stress that it extends even beyond that. “Everybody reverts back to high school and their feelings on the first day of high school. I was a drama nerd. I loved drama, and I loved the theater and all that. I wanted it to be: if you’re a drama nerd, you can come in here and still feel cool and have a cool place to hang out. Many times, I feel like you have to be part of a clique to go into some of the places around here. I just want to come in and have fun. Why do I have to be part of your regular crew to have fun?”

Past Event

I-90

  • Saturday, February 5, 2022, 8 p.m.
  • Deano's Pub, 5286 Baltimore Drive, San Diego
  • 21+

The venue has already had a soft opening, with an official grand opening planned for the first week of February. "We don't have happy hour right now. We have everyday specials $5 Jamison shots, $5 Deano’s house shots, and $3 PBR. So we are starting to book bands. Last Friday, we had Z Matrix and The Hammerheads. It was awesome. Original bands with a little mix if covers. Our grand opening on February 5th, we have I90 playing."

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