Arts & Culture Blog
Seaside's Alternative Cafe to Shutter at End of Month
September 4, 2012
When one door closes, the saying goes, another door opens. The closed door, in this case, belongs to Alternative Cafe's longstanding Fremont Boulevard location in Seaside; the open one, Golden State Theatre in Monterey. Scott Grover, owner of the hip cafe, art gallery and underground culture hub, is moving his operations to the lobby of the Golden State Theatre, in preparation for he and GST owner Warren Dewey's revival of music shows there, as reported in the Weekly Aug. 16.
Not everything will make the trip over. The Dr. Sketchy's Drawing Workshop and the Alternative Vaudeville shows are making the move, and though they will screen bigger films and festivals, the Cinema Speakeasy night may not. The music shows will occupy GST's lobby and the espresso machine will be fired up during events; the art shows will be reduced down to a few signature shows, like New Brow and Garter Belts & Gasoline. The toys and books, says Grover, he's not sure where they will land yet; his employees at the Seaside store will be manning the GST lobby happenings. There are at least four more music shows slated for the Seaside location. The last art exhibit there will open next week and run through the end of September, at which time the doors will close on that storied chapter.
"I don't know if I'll be selling it," Grover says. "The name Alternative Cafe will still be attached to certain events here [at Golden State Theatre]. 'Presented by Alternative Cafe…' We've built up some global recognition and I don't want to surrender that branding. If one of these spots open up in the building, that may quickly become the new home of the Alternative Cafe."
Those "spots" refer to storefronts next to Golden State Theatre that Dewey also owns. Grover already has an office at GST.
Last year Alternative Cafe won the Weekly's Best Of votes for Best Art Gallery and, in what seems like a prescient recognition, Best Venue for Rock. The final events at Seaside include the Women of Whimsy and Alternative Vaudeville. All other events are moved to GST. The first music show slated for The Lobby at Golden State Theatre is Burnt Palms on Sept. 15 for a soft opening, then The Soft White Sixties and The Lightfighters, promoted as a grand opening, though it's being touted tentatively.
"I'm going to Salinas, to ABC [Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control] tomorrow, to get a sense of relocation of our wine and beer permit to this [new] location," Grover says. "Depending on the outcome, we'll either keep those shows at the cafe, or not."
Grover says the move is in keeping with his focus on pouring energy into Golden State Theatre. He and Dewey are in talks with promoters Britt Govea and Goldenvoice, and music representation firm Paradigm. Their plan is to do 20 shows a month; some of the bigger names being sought or considered for the three to four monthly main stage shows include Chris Isaak, Huey Lewis and Ozomatli.
Years ago Grover briefly opened a satellite art gallery in the Alvarado Street space currently occupied by Sushi Moto—before that occupied by Karma Fashion Lounge—and filled it end-to-end with underground art. And he kept a retail space in the American Tin Cannery, called Echo, for similarly hot art, but pulled the plug on that languishing location last month. The consolidation points to Golden State Theatre.
"It was never as financially gratifying as my projections hoped it would be," Grover says of the Seaside location of Alternative Cafe. "But I love what we did there. We're going to continue to do that, just on the main street of Alvarado."