Artist paints music mural at former concert bar

Four years ago, Bar Leucadian was still known as a local destination for concerts.

When its live music license was revoked after some trouble with the law, the bar was forced to close earlier and the performances stopped.

Artist Michael Rosenblatt is paying tribute to the musical sounds that once filled the establishment.

The Carlsbad man is about halfway through painting a mural outside the bar dedicated to musicians from around the San Diego County area.

“A lot of the other murals here are great in their own way, but nobody has thought of doing one dedicated to musicians in this area,” Rosenblatt said as he applied a coat of fresh paint to the 20-foot-by-50-foot brick wall on the side of the bar on a recent Friday.

The piece, which he started in late March and expects to be completed in mid-May, features about a half dozen musicians, mostly from North San Diego County and Encinitas.

He considered this a way of paying tribute to the musical talent in the area.

Though the work has a different theme than others in the area — Rosenblatt has worked on multiple murals in San Diego County , including two others at Bar Leucadian — the colors and ocean themes seen around the city are still prevalent in the piece.

Prior to painting the mural, Bar Leucadian worked off a one-day permit to host a party with live music for fundraising for paint supplies.

The event raised thousands of dollars, Rosenblatt said.

“There were lines out the door,” he said. “I’ve never seen so many people come here. It really was a nice morale booster that it was so well-attended and so well-received.”

Rosenblatt considered the Bar Leucadian as having a “historic quality to it” due to the live concerts it used to hold.

Todd Laird, who took over ownership of Bar Leucadian after the previous owner’s legal troubles, said he hopes to be able to hold live musical performances at the bar again someday.

The previous owner “had everything stripped of him” after getting into trouble with the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, as well as the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Laird said.

According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the bar’s liquor license was temporary suspended for 45 days in 2012 after undercover investigators purchased cocaine from patrons and employees of the bar over a four-month period.

The Union-Tribune reported that for years, Bar Leucadian had been “linked to crimes and quality-of-life problems in the area.”

“Deputies received frequent reports of loud noise, public drunkenness and urination, and many people arrested for drunken driving had done their drinking at the establishment,” then-sheriff’s Capt. Sherri Sarro of the Encinitas Station told the Union-Tribune.

Laird said since he has owned the bar, there have been no visits or threats from the sheriff’s department. He hopes this will help him in persuading the city to allow live music at the bar again.

“We want to get back to that and want our music to stop at 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays,” he said.

Local music promoter and musician Scott Clayton has fond memories of booking the bands at Bar Leucadian for the final five years of the establishment holding a live music license.

“It’s basically where I cut my teeth in the biz,” he said. “The place was jumping seven days a week.”

Rosenblatt expects to host a reveal party at the bar once the mural is complete.

Copyright © 2017, Encinitas Advocate
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