Halloween revelers looking for alternatives to the Isla Vista party scene this weekend won’t be able to dodge law enforcement by heading downtown to State St. this weekend.
The Santa Barbara Police Department (SBPD) is bulking up its staff to handle the large crowds expected downtown for the three-day Halloween weekend. Many bars are also increasing security to manage the crowds they plan to attract with costume contests, drink specials and alcohol promotions.
Lt. Paul McCaffrey, spokesman for the SBPD, said there will be an increase in the number of police officers on duty during all three days of the weekend, but he said assistance from other law enforcement agencies will not be necessary.
The SBPD will be assisting downtown bars in complying with occupancy regulations and ejecting problem customers, McCaffrey said.
“In preparation for the weekend, we have been working closely with club staffs by helping them keep to maximum occupancy levels, and to be there to help [remove] people,” he said.
McCaffrey said since bars are private businesses, they have the right to kick out any of their patrons and charge them with trespassing if they return.
In addition to officers on State St., McCaffrey said, there will be an increase in patrol cars keeping an eye out for drivers under the influence. He said the department will be holding briefings to stress to officers the importance of drunk driving law enforcement this weekend.
John Maxwell, a staff member at the Sandbar, said the club will have additional security in anticipation of the large number of people that the club plans to attract through several special events for the weekend.
“There will be guest bartenders from UCSB and a guest DJ,” Maxwell said. “We will have drink specials, beverage promotions and a costume contest on Sunday night. The club is going to be decorated by an award-winning decorator … we will be a local standout and make sure people will have a good time.”
Jules Ponzini, general manager of Club 634 on State St., said she has hired extra security staff for the busy weekend, some of whom are off-duty police officers. Ponzini said bar staff will also help find cabs for intoxicated patrons to prevent them from driving under the influence.
Tim Moore, general manager of Q’s, said the club’s large capacity has made it necessary to hire two to three extra security personnel this weekend in anticipation of the Halloween crowds.
“We are so busy that we deal with large numbers of people all the time,” Moore said. “Occupancy is our biggest factor, and, with [a maximum] occupancy of 384, we have the biggest club in town.”
Each of the clubs will require patrons to pay a cover charge ranging from five to ten dollars at some point this weekend, depending on how many people show up.
Maxwell said there will be a cover charge at the Sandbar this Sunday, depending on the time of night and the level of demand, and Moore said Q’s will also have a five-dollar cover on Sunday once the club gets busy.
Ponzini said Club 634 will likely put a cover charge into effect during the busiest time of night this Saturday.
“There will be a cover charge Saturday night after the bar fills, but the amount will depend on how long the line is and how we read the crowd,” Ponzini said.