Strollers on Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach got a bit of royal-watching in over the weekend when Prince Harry was spotted heading into the Belly Up to take in a show by Karl Denson's Tiny Universe and Vokab Company.
The 27-year-old prince, a British Army captain, started training earlier this month at the Naval Air Facility at El Centro, Calif. -- a two-hour drive from San Diego -- where he is flying in Apache helicopters in the desert near the Mexican border. The facility hosts allied troops throughout the year because its hot, dusty conditions replicate Afghanistan's harsh environment and the clear weather allows for constant flying.
The first hint that the Belly Up's Meryl Klemow had that the venue was about to get a royal visit came early on Saturday night, when she got a call from the FBI.
"They just wanted to make sure that if he was to come to the club, that we would have a reserved area for him," Klemow said.
Harry arrived at about 9 that night with 10 or 12 people in tow. After they entered, Harry, who was wearing jeans and a ball cap, headed for a VIP section of seating that had been pre-reserved for the prince, who is third in line for the British throne. And then he relaxed -- it may have helped that the club had a no-photos rule on Saturday night.
"He was very cute -- he looked just like a cute college junior boy to me," Klemow said. "He was really enjoying the music -- he was watching Vokab Company, and he was jamming to Karl Denson, too, having some fun. He was dancing in the VIP area.... He definitely had a tequila shot -- myself and the general manager did a shot with him -- and other than that, maybe just a drink of two."
The prince appeared to avoid any romantic entanglements, said the Belly Up spokeswoman.
"He was by himself mostly -- there were two girls in the group," Klemow said. "They were just part of his group, hanging out with him and the other guys. He was self-contained -- there were no other girls in the loft," Klemow said, adding, "they stayed till about 1:15 a.m. -- we put on the World Cup rugby game for them. At the end of the night, I gave him a Belly Up hat and two girls' T-shirts, and he was very gracious."
Besides San Diego's own hip-hop collective VoKab Company, Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald of Slightly Stoopid performed, sitting in with Denson, a one-time member of Lenny Kravitz's band who also founded the Greyboy Allstars. These days, he, too calls the county home.
The singer/saxophonist Denson was on his second night of a two-night stand: On Friday night, he and the Tiny Universe (with Miles and Kyle on hand again), performed the Rolling Stones album Sticky Fingers in its entirety.
On Oct. 8, Harry was partying in the Gaslamp at the Ivy Nightclub. The prince, who is known for his partying ways, hung out at the club on a private balcony with a big group of men and women, stayed out that night until the Ivy closed at 2 a.m.
Harry is among 20 students in the British Army participating in the training that ends at an Air Force station in Gila Bend, Ariz. where they will fire missiles, rockets and cannons from the Apache helicopters.