So, they think they can dance?
City puts brakes on K Street Mall teens-only nightclub
It wasn’t one of those traditional movie moments when the cops arrive and break up a teenage party.
A group of Sacramento high-school students had planned to launch The Cave, a proposed downtown club inside Antigua Ultra Lounge at 723 K Street. But last week, two police officers came knocking the evening before its scheduled June 18 launch. They told club organizers, including involved parents, that a permit would not be granted, due to potential issues with off-site drinking and loitering, and shut the club down.
The Cave was set to operate every Saturday night from 5 to 9 p.m. for teens only, ages 13 to 17, inside an already existing 21-and-over nightclub.
Wendy Mirazo, one of the club’s managers and parent to a teen who created the business idea, says that police told her teens were “too much trouble.” She explained that officers arrived with an email stating that the permit was to be denied and also warned that they would be back the next night to make sure the club wasn’t open.
“They said that teenagers were a nuisance, created too much trouble and they didn’t want them hanging around the area,” Mirazo said. “They haven’t given them a chance. They have absolutely no evidence to substantiate that type of statement, since nothing like this has ever been done in this area for teens.”
Sacramento Police spokesman Norm Leong said the department is cautious in regard to teen clubs, because of the associated issues with teen drinking and loitering after curfew hours. Sacramento’s curfew ordinance doesn’t allow unaccompanied teens out after 10 p.m.
“That’s the problem, and I don’t know how they would mitigate it,” Leong said. “With our budget cuts, we don’t have additional staffing to deal with teens. They create a different, complex situation. You just can’t tell a minor to go home.”
Police said they came knocking because they had seen advertisements of the June 18 opening, meanwhile they knew that a permit had not been approved.
As of last week, code-enforcement officials said the city was still in the application process for the permit for the club.
But on June 24, Felipe Olvera, the owner of the existing Antigua adult nightclub where the The Cave would take place, withdrew the application for the modified entertainment permit. Olvera said that it was clear from talking to police that they were going to deny the permit.
“I also didn’t want to create any friction with the city,” Olvera said. “Usually the city approves the permit pretty quickly if I need a temporary permit or something like that. I feel like if I requested anything, it was going to get delayed. So I decided it would be better to withdraw, because I didn’t want my regular permit in jeopardy.”
Olvera and Mirazo both said they plan to continue working toward a permit, and plan to meet with city and police officials.
If the club idea resurrects, The Cave intends to have a minimum of 10 security guards each night, plus chaperones, and would not allow in-and-out privileges. All teens will have IDs checked and go through a metal-detecting wand before entering the club. Dress code is strictly enforced for both boys and girls.
Currently, only Zu Club at Barcode on Arden Way operates as a 17-and-under club from 5 to 9:30 p.m. on Monday nights.
“The reality is that high-school kids are having parties unsupervised,” Mirazo said. “That’s when all these things are happening, because there is no supervision or security.”
Mirazo’s 16-year-old son, Gilbert, was one of the teenagers who came up with the concept, along with his sisters and cousins. Gilbert said the goal is to have an innocent place to meet people.
“We all like to dance, we like to have fun, but there is no place to go and party,” he said. “You can only see so many movies and go to the mall. …
“I was pretty disappointed when it didn’t happen on opening night,” the teen said. “You put a lot of work into it, only to find out that it’s not going to open.”
Mirazo said she plans to keep fighting for the permit. “We are willing to wait; we are willing to fight it as long as given a chance.”