San Diego's ‘World Famous' Casbah Reopening (Kinda)

Like all other San Diego nightclubs, the Casbah has been shuttered since last March

Vito Di Stefano

Local music fans are rejoicing after news came out overnight that the Casbah was coming back to life.

The iconic Kettner Boulevard club, which has been anchoring the local music scene since 1989 in one iteration or another, plans on opening its doors April 9. According to the announcement, live music is still on hold for now, but a DJ -- who knows? maybe it will be the Casbah's principal owner Tim Mays' alter ego Mr. Mayzee behind the decks at some point -- will be bringing the beats. Tre3BEATles trio of DJS, though, will be up first, though, on April 9-10.

What guests may be missing in music will be more than made up for in food: San Diego's taco superstars from ¡Salud! will be heading north and serving up the famous street tacos that helped breathe new life into Barrio Logan. Owner Ernie Becerra and his crew will be on-site preparing ¡Salud!'s self-proclaimed King of All Tacos -- we love the Azteca Tlahco and Pollo Asado ourselves -- on the Casbah's patio (no longer the smoking patio, at least temporarily) and in the Razzmatazz Room out back.

Mays told NBC 7 there would be no cover charge for admission to the club, but there would be a food minimum: $6. Try finding someone who can limit themselves to six bucks of ¡Salud! For Mays, the restaurant partnership was an easy choice.

"[Becerra] catered my wedding back In 2012 and has come in for a couple events for us over the years," Mays said. "He was a natural. I wanted to get someone who would spark Interest."

The bands Feels, Wild Wild Wets and Scary Pierre packed our free SoundDiego LIVE party at the Casbah with a bash hosted by 91x's Tim Pyles and featuring a VIP happy hour sponsored by North County's Wild Barrel Brewing.

The Casbah team, of course, is excited to welcome back guests, who'll need to remain seated at their tables and wear masks when they're not eating or drinking.

For now, the Casbah is limiting outdoor dining and 25% of indoor capacity, and are launching with a limited schedule of Thursdays through Saturdays from 6-11 p.m. (those hours are per state guidelines). If there's enough interest, the Casbah could start serving earlier or add additional weekly days. Also, indoor capacity could balloon to 50% of indoor capacity if and when the county moves to the orange tier -- a stage San Diego might reach as early as Tuesday of next week.

Mays said dining in the main room is not in cards.

"I don't think people would enjoy sitting In front of an empty stage," May told NBC 7 on Friday, and besides, "I've always wanted to open the back bar as a stand-alone bar."

Don't expect to eat out on tables in an area out front on Kettner, either, not with "jet fuel coming off of planes" from the nearby airport and too much street traffic, Mays said.

The Casbah crew wasn't idle during the downtime: Mays told NBC 7 in January that he spent some of that this year renovating the Casbah -- including both of the club's legendary bathrooms.

"We remodeled the office to make it more band-friendly as a green room, we completely painted and did the floors, and just did a lot of work at the club … now it's just sitting collecting dust pretty much," Mays said with a laugh.

The reception to the news was ecstatic, both from staffers and fans.

".. congratulations for enduring this storm and doing it safely for all,"
"SO excited to hear this!.," "Hooray!" and "Woo to the Hoooo!!" were just a few of the comments on Facebook.

So, when will live music return to the Casbah stage? Mays said that there's nothing on the calendar happening before late summer.

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