Cafe Boogaloo may be allowing a little too much boogie and booze, according to a March 5 staff report prepared for Hermosa Beach City Council.
At least that's what the planning commission thought when it voted on Jan. 15 to reduce the establishment's hours for live music and operation due to nine incidences of violence during the past year inside and near the eatery and an audit of the business’ sales receipts showing more alcohol being sold than food.
The city requires businesses whose conditional use permit is as a restaurant and not a bar serve at most 50 percent alcohol and at least 50 percent food. The planning commission has the authority to modify or revoke an establishment’s CUP.
Tuesday night, according to an online agenda, City Council may address the owner's appeal to have them review and reconsider the new restrictions approved by the planning commission. Staff, however, is recommending council uphold the commission's changes to Boogaloo's CUP.
The latest Boogaloo CUP makes the business close by midnight with music playing no later than 11:30 p.m. Before the Jan. 15 CUP modification, Boogaloo was open til 2 a.m. and music could be live until 1:15 a.m. The kitchen was routinely open until 11 p.m., according to Alonso.
Council's consideration of the appeal is set for public comment at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, however, the property and business owners have asked for the appeal to be addressed at a later date. The decision to rule now or wait to hold the appeal is up to council, according to the agenda.
The March 5 staff report details how Boogaloo has now complied with an ABC regulation to have fixed tables near the stage, intended to keep patrons from dancing as they might in a bar.
The report, however, also notes that on Feb. 10, Hermosa Beach Police responded to Boogaloo's to deal with underage females inside the bar despite a doorman. When HBPD contacted the women, one did not have identification on her, the other, a 20-year-old, showed an ID that wasn't hers and was ultimately cited for presenting a false ID to officers and for giving them false information.
The same staff report conveys drug and narcotics issues at Boogaloo and the business' tentative agreement to a 20-day suspension of their liquor license and "three years probation based on narcotics sales tied to their employees."
Indeed, Cafe Boogaloo hasn't always been the focus of city officials.
Opened in 1995 by Steve Roberts, the concept was "a blues and roots music bar serving downhome Southern food, fine wine and beer," according to an article in the Easy Reader.
Boogaloo has operated under its original May 1995 CUP ever since, that is, until now.
When Boogaloo was sold in 2009 to Gary Alonso, who owns Game Changers next door, the establishment's focus shifted to more of a sports bar, according to planning commissioner Sam Perrotti, with the number of TVs growing from 3 to 24.
The new CUP only allows Boogaloo to have 8.
City Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday beginning at 7 p.m. at 1315 Valley Drive.