Circle Bar owner Dave Clements told OffBeat today he submitted a stack of almost 60 signed affidavits, along with clips from local media vouching for the Circle Bar’s longstanding place in the live music scene, to the city’s Building Permits office Monday afternoon (August 6).
Yesterday’s trip downtown came on the heels of a successful Saturday night rally, during which musicians queued up and hung out for the cause. Clements reported that local attorney Don Kelly, whom he initially expected to be notarizing documents for a couple of hours, was kept busy from 8 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
“It made me think I will just have notary signing nights every night. I can probably do a whole lot better, and I wouldn’t have to pay a band,” an appreciative Clements joked of the turnout, which included performers whose gigs at the CBD venue dated back to 1999. “A lot of people just made a point to come in and support the bar.”
Clements said his next move was a follow-up visit to City Hall later in the week, when the approved documents were expected downstairs at the Department of Revenue, and the application for permit could proceed. For his part, Clements told OffBeat Sunday he had yet to find any evidence of a pre-existing entertainment license for the club, despite scuttlebutt online claiming he had let the permit lapse post-Katrina.
“The other thing is,” he added of the recent crackdown on his and other “small, off-the-cuff” bars. “[The city] didn’t give anybody any advance warning. Even if we should’ve had these licenses, wouldn’t they have been better served instead of just closing us down, cancelling bands, saying, ‘Hey, we’re coming in in a month; get your permits together?’ So I’m not sure what their ideas are.”
Clements said he hoped to be plugged back in by the weekend, but that he and booking agent Jason Songe were leaving it to individual acts to decide whether or not to play somewhere else: “We’re not gonna hold them to their contract unless they want to come in.”
Clements was guardedly optimistic mid-Tuesday. “I could conceivably get it straightened out and get back, legit, to having live music,” he said, adding, “I won’t believe it until I actually see it.”