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POLL: Should The Gaslighter Theater Be a Restaurant/Nightclub

Campbell City Council will make the decision Jan. 3.

Campbell has been getting a lot of attention for the denial of a proposed restaurant/nightclub at 400 E. Campbell Ave. and the subsequent appeal filed.

A video segment aired and an article in a local alt-weekly both ran yesterday. The owner of the former Gaslighter Theater, Melodann, Inc. held a community meeting to and on Jan. 3,2012 Campbell City Council will make a decision.

The initial proposal was by the Campbell Planning Commission in October because it did not abide by the , which was .

over the serving of alcohol past midnight and the effect on police response time with the addition of another drinking establishment in the downtown

According to the city council memo on the , in 2010 there were 5,814 calls between 11:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. made to Campbell Police for service. More than 9 percent of these were in the downtown.

Only 19 percent of those arrested in the downtown are Campbell residents.

Currently, there are six establishments that have approval to serve alcohol until 2:00 a.m. and one that may serve alcohol until 1:00 a.m. Total, there's about 529 people on any given night in the downtown at these establishments:

  • : Total occupancy: 140
  • : Total occupancy: 129
  • : Total occupancy: 125
  • : Total occupancy: 95
  • : Total occupancy: 40

and also are allowed to stay open until 2:00 a.m. but choose to close at 11:00 p.m.

If this proposal is approved, the new restaurant/nightclub will also serve alcohol until 2:00 a.m. and there will be an additional 250 (half of what was originally proposed) people on any given night in the downtown, bringing the total number of people in the downtown to 779.

Stephen Allen December 30, 2011 at 04:02 PM
Downtown Campbell has quite enough restaurants and bars. We need other types of businesses in the downtown area as well. One day, I walked from one end of downtown to the other. In the 1/3 of a mile I counted roughly 15 eateries and bars. Plus, there's another pizza place going in at the far end of downtown. I'd say that's quite enough ! They should come up with a different use for the old theater. It is a neat, old building that should be preserved.
Michael Putnam December 30, 2011 at 06:19 PM
There is a big difference between another restaurant with an extended liquor license and a restaurant/night club with an extended liquor license. I think you would find far less concern from the community if this was just a new restaurant (Even though I personally think there are enough restaurants in Campbell) It's a shame the Gaslight can't be brought back to life as an actual theater with good old style dinner theater and family entertainment. Does anyone out there have connections with a Silicon Valley based philanthropist who would like to restore a little history in Campbell? What a great gift to the area.
Ed Sengstack December 30, 2011 at 06:44 PM
In addition to the new pizza restaurant which Stephen references above, there are currently plans for another restaurant to go into the space formerly occupied by TWIST... and another 2-3 restaurants to go into the remodeled Oddfellows bldg. ALL will serve alcohol, and can be open till midnight. Please consider the cumulative effect of adding a nightclub with a capacity of 250-plus, whose 'patrons' will spill into our community at 2am! And note that owner Matt Klemchuk states in the video segment that late-night hours could well be extended beyond Thurs.-Sat. nites! We'd all like to see this historical bldg. be brought back to life... but folks, this is the wrong fit for our community. Even if they were to compromise and say they'd close at midnite, who's to say they won't be back in six months asking for a CUP to stay open till 2am... and to increase their capacity to the 500 they had initially requested?!
Kereli December 30, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Frankly, to fill a building because it "...has been empty long enough" is not reason enough to fill it. This is NOT about restoring an old building. This is about a business wanting to capitalize on a thriving downtown bar scene at the inconvenience of nearby business owners and residents by serving alcohol until 2:00am SEVEN NIGHTS A WEEK. Read the facts about what this business is really asking for here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Deny-Ultra-Lounge-in-Downtown-Campbell/
Alan Zisser December 31, 2011 at 02:01 AM
In reading the proposal for this restaurant/nightclub with its "Las Vegas" atmosphere, I don't think Campbell is the right place for this place. It also seems to be masquerading as a restaurant for the real purpose of it being a slick nightclub. The proposal talks about clearing out the tables later in evening to turn it more in nightclub atmosphere. The proposal also listed 3am as closing time. I'm with others on this, I'd love the place to be another type of venue. Maybe something more appealing to a broader demographic. There aren't enough places around for middle age crowd to listen to jazz/blues while having something to eat and drink. Would love that, but that probably isn't going to be profitable. But something like that could be a great destination for class acts, and raise Campbell's visibility in a more positive way. Don't want Campbell to turn into the "pub crawling" capital of Silicon Valley.
Ed Sengstack December 31, 2011 at 02:20 AM
Thanks, Alan... for actually reading thru the proposal and other materials! To be fooled that this is about the historical restoration of the Gaslighter is to take the owners/proposed operators at their word... without taking the time to sift thru the facts! We, too, would like to see something along the lines of the Little Fox Theatre in Redwood City... at least in its initial incarnation... with live music from b-level touring bands... where the acts would finish by 11-11:30, and the club closed at midnite. Know anybody with the $$ to support an idea like this?! :-)
Joe Hernandez January 01, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Ed, Thanks for raising the awareness of this issue and speaking to the facts. I totally agree that restoring the Gaslighter building at any cost is nonsense. The bottom line is that the applicant wants to operate a bar/dance club until 2:00 am and then unleash the 250+ patrons onto our city streets...as a former councilmember I can tell you that this is not consistent with Campbell's General Plan, Downtown Development Plan or Downtown Alcohol Policy.
raul January 01, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Let's be realistic here. We need a club/ bar in Campbell. Something other than the regular scene. I will go there and mean it when I say the following. But we need a LGBT bar/club in the area. This will bring a new crowd out on the weekdays and weekends. It will also bring lots of revenue, because we gays love to $pend. Who's with me on this one?
Louis Stone-Collonge January 02, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Few points: 1) drunks are drunks (LGBT or not, they're drunk). 2) The CHP already has downtown Campbell on its watch list as a trouble area. 3) Increasing the number of drunk drivers in Campbell is not a business building strategy! It IS a public safety hazard. The whole issue is just stupid!
Carina Arias December 12, 2012 at 06:04 PM
TURN THE GASLIGHTER BACK INTO A THEATER!!!! PLEEEAAASEEEE!!! :( They used to put on live vaudville plays and skits with piano accompaniment and lots of audience interaction. It was so much fun and there doesn't seem to be anything like it anymore. They would have people in costume come around and serve drinks and popcorn and there was also still a bar. Why don't they do this anymore???

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