Signs inside the Empire Gaming Lounge. Image for website video
The operators of a club located in a warehouse in the Rolando neighborhood have agreed to close down the business, which the San Diego City Attorney’s Office said Thursday was prompted by scores of complaints from nearby residents who reported all-night parties and illegal activity on the premises.
According to a court judgment reached last month, the owners of Empire Gaming Lounge have agreed to an injunction prohibiting the venue’s continued operations and requiring the owners to bring the property up to code. The owners were also assessed $75,000 in civil penalties, but $50,000 of that is suspended pending completion of the settlement requirements.
The injunction stems from a complaint filed by the City Attorney’s Office last year, which alleged the venue was a public nuisance that violated state law and the San Diego Municipal Code.
The City Attorney’s Office says the business opened in 2019 without the required permits, and neighbors called police dozens of times over the next two years regarding “loud music and late-night rave parties” held at the Cartegena Drive property, which continued to operate even after the COVID-19 pandemic led numerous other businesses to shut down.
Though Empire Gaming’s social media page initially indicated it would shut its doors upon the state’s public health emergency declaration, police were called there for loud music less than two weeks after the message was posted online.
The City Attorney’s Office said additional complaints made throughout the year alleged fireworks, drug use, underage drinking and underage strippers were observed at the property, with complaints continuing until May of last year, months after a cease-and-desist order was issued by the county.
“While most local businesses followed pandemic-related health and safety orders, this nightclub flouted the law, creating a public nuisance, gaining an unfair business advantage and draining police resources,” City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said.
— City News Service