San Diego

Petition Could Reverse No Dancing Law at Music Bar in Encinitas

Patrons of an Encinitas bar that has been fined in the past for allowing people to dance may soon be able to strap on their dancing shoes if a permit revision request is approved. 

Unbeknownst to some – including, at one point, the operators of Mr. Peabody’s Bar and Grill – the city of Encinitas requires businesses that sell alcohol to have a special permit to allow customers to dance.

Mr. Peabody’s has hosted live music (with a permit) for nearly a decade, but in 2017 they were hit with a citation from the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) for letting customers do anything other than stand still on their dance floor. The bar was also ordered to pay a $3,000 fine.

Ever since they cut that check to the ABC, bar staff has had to remind patrons that even though the house is a rockin’, there is absolutely no toe tappin’, hip swingin’, or head bobbin’ allowed.

“Our guests… the average age is probably 50 years old, which makes it even harder treating these adults like children and telling them they have to sit down and remain still,” Managing Partner Brie Cardosa said. “Some people are helpful and some people actually get really angry.”

"We still don't really know what the definition is," Brie added. "But we just assume it's standing rhythmic motion to music."

Some patrons were so angry with the law that some organized a petition for a formal request for permit revision that rounded up thousands of signatures in a matter of weeks.

Last week the Encinitas Planning Commission approved the request, but the boogie at Mr. Peabody’s is still on hold while the approval works its way through the appeal process. The earliest an approval could come is February.

While Mr. Peabody's situation has been compared to the movie "Footloose" Cardosa says if the permit does go through, the bar isn't expected to turn into"Coyote Ugly."

Cardosa just wants her customers to feel comfortable.

The City Attorney of Encinitas did not respond to requests for comment.

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