The operators at Porter’s Pub -- which programs hip-hop, rap, electronic and indie-rock shows-- have received a letter instructing the venue to vacate on June 30. Technically, the pub’s lease is up on May 31, but the venue was given an extra 30 days to remove its property.
In November, news broke via the UCSD Guardian that the University Centers Advisory Board (UCAB) was not renewing the lease with the business' current owner, Stephen Lawler. UCAB is a student-run committee that controls on-campus services, facilities and centers that are funded by student fees.
It was a surprising announcement, coming as it did in the wake of similar news at the nearby Che Café, and since Porter's routinely hosts much bigger shows venue, including KRS-One, Too Short, Unwritten Law and Run the Jewels, among others. The issues at hand, as announced by the UCAB, were the pub's lack of student-run events and lack of food sales, which are required to consistently outpace alcohol sales. While alcohol sales may have outstripped those of food at concerts, that was not the general case, said a Porter's Pub spokesman.
Lawler, who told SoundDiego he invested between $150,000 and $200,000 installing a new bar and kitchen when he took over the club eight years ago, said on Wednesday that he has not given up hope on saving Porter’s Pub.
“Just trying to figure it out,” Lawler said. “Still a chance we can stay.”
Lawler stressed that the letter is not an eviction letter, and that dialogue with the University Centers had not ended. At a minimum, supporters of the pub hope the club will stay open until a new tenant has been selected for the site. At a minimum, they’re hoping for month-to-month lease until the location changes hands.
The Che Café is also facing closure. After a year of legal wrangling between the co-op, the UCSD administration and student advisory boards, the school officially served the Che Cafe a five-day eviction notice on March 17. The order mandated that the 73-year-old building, located at 1000 Scholars Drive, be vacated by March 24. However, the site was still operating in May. Sheriff’s deputies said in March that they have 180 days to enforce an eviction once the notice is served. While discussions have taken place between Vice Chancellor Juan Gonzalez and Che representatives since late March, nothing has altered the situation, Che spokeswoman Aditi Gautum told SoundDiego.
The news that Porter’s Pub lease was not being renewed came as a shock to Lawler, who purchased the pub from Robert Porter, the original operator who opened the club 22 years ago.
Lawler said on Wednesday that he is developing other projects, including an arts festival in Vista in the fall, and Porter’s Pub continues to book shows, including appearances by People Under the Stairs on May 2, Nipsy Hussle on May 14 and Slick Rick on May 24.