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SideTrax night club sets Labor Day weekend opening date

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SideTrax, a night club being built on top of Hot Rod’s near 20th and K streets, is now on pace for a Labor Day weekend opening, and an innovative membership program may be the key to allowing 18- to 20-year-olds access despite the club having a full bar.

The venue was initially scheduled to open last spring, but the date had to be pushed back due to construction delays involving design changes and the addition of an extensive patio.

Owner T.J. Bruce said the club will accommodate about 300 people in a cigar bar-meets-urban lounge setting with high-quality sound and lighting systems.

Bruce also owns nearby Lavender Heights night spots The Depot and Badlands, and he said SideTrax will appeal to the LGBT community, but is open to all.

“We decided to add a large patio,” Bruce said Tuesday, explaining the delay in construction. “You’ve got to have outdoor area. The people with the outdoor areas are the people that are going to survive.”

About one third of the 3,000-square-foot, second-floor venue will be taken up by the patios, one of which faces the street while the other is larger and on the backside.

Yet to be determined: whether it will be open to those aged 18 to 20.

Bruce said he hopes the city will allow him to serve alcohol and stay open to a younger crowd, and he has an idea for a set of controls to keep out the ones who become problematic.

“With anybody under 21, we will do a membership kind of thing,” he said. “It won’t cost, but we’ll have extra information on them – name, address, ways to contact them. We’ll have a face and video surveillance so we can tell if they’re a problem.”

He said he thinks the idea is unique, and those who try to get alcohol or otherwise cause trouble would be contacted, and potentially have membership revoked.

“It’s really kind of hard to draw the line,” Bruce said. “It’s not like it’s some kind of weird private club, but we’ve got to divide those who are responsible and those who are not.”

Bruce added that he believes if young adults are treated with respect and told about the strict compliance system, the club can run smoothly and be fun for all.

Maurice Chaney, spokesman for the city’s code compliance division, said that entertainment permits, which SideTrax will need to operate, are granted on a case-by-case basis after being reviewed by a variety of city entities, including the Police Department.

“I’ve never heard where the operator sort of proposed their own system to ensure the health and safety of those who are underage,” Chaney said Tuesday. “That seems very positive in my mind.”

He said it is premature to comment on whether SideTrax will be issued a permit that allows alcohol sales to the 21-and-over crowd while the under-21 age group is allowed in the building.

“We want to be fair and objective, and we want to make sure that culture and entertainment

innovation
 in the city is safe,” he said. “If we can make it all work, I think that’s all for the best.”

Editor’s Note: A correction was made to this article after it was published. The incorrect information was struck out and the correct information was added.

Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell. 

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