Bad news out of Lake Park: The Snooze Theatre, the center of gravity of West Palm Beach’s dynamic music scene and one of the venues featured in our four-part “Miami DIY” series, has shut down after the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office cited its co-owners for allegedly selling alcohol without a beer and wine license, according to the Broward New Times’ music blog, County Grind. The operative word there is “allegedly” as, according to one comment on the New Times’ piece, the Snooze had (has?) the proper license.
The Snooze, which opened back in June after the previous tenant, a blues bar called The Orange Door, closed up shop, has cancelled all its upcoming events “until further notice,” according to a posting on the venue’s Facebook page, which is also currently shut down.
The clamp down came just before midnight last Monday, according to County Grind, “when a man in PBSO green pulled Snooze co-owners Jordan Pettingill and C.J. Jankow outside to question them about their beer and wine license, which had reportedly expired. He proceeded to loudly admonish the pair, called for backup, and told them to cease all alcohol sales … ” Pettingill and Jankow, both members of the band Cop City/Chill Pillars (whose “Subtropical Apartment” took the number eight spot on the Top 50 South Florida Songs of 2011), were eventually issued written arrests for selling alcohol without a license.
It is unclear how the situation will progress at this point, but if the Snooze does not reopen it would hit the West Palm Beach music scene hard.
“I hope everyone realizes how damaging this is to music in our area and hopefully everyone who’s [sic] ever played or attended a Snooze show will do what they can to ensure it’s [sic] longevity,” someone using the name “Jesus H. Christ” wrote in the comment section of the County Grind article. “Everyone interested in music suffers when there isn’t a fertile creative space to foster energy and ideas on such an important level.”
Indeed, the raison d’être of the Snooze Theatre was to serve as a platform for South Florida musicians of the “experimental” persuasion (to resort to shameful generalization) while keeping entry and alcohol charges to a minimum. As Beached Miami contributor Matt Preira wrote back in September, “Though still in its formative stages, the [Snooze] has set a strong precedent for itself as an accessible, affordable clubhouse capable of sustaining patronage through open-minded, free-form programming that caters to the connoisseur, the eager fan, and the curious spectator in search of new music.”
Sadly, the Snooze Theatre may not get the chance to develop beyond its formative stages. If it does reopen, despite the arrest of its co-owners and the license allegation, it will be a triumphant day for the venue, a triumph celebrated, no doubt, with much live music and cheap booze. Here’s hoping.
Update: Jordan Pettingill, one of the co-owners of the Snooze Theatre, says PBSO did not officially shut the venue down. “We just put a hold on all the shows until everything is in the proper order,” Pettingill said.