RockIt Room must tame rowdy revelry

Joseph Schell/Special to The SF ExaminerPolice recently responded to a fight involving 100 people outside the RockIt Room.

The Inner Richmond district’s only music venue has three months to clean up its act or face closure, after months of violence and permit violations.

Last month, the Entertainment Commission heard from the Police Department and businesses neighboring the RockIt Room, located at 406 Clement St., about violence, noise and drug use plaguing the typically quiet community.

The commission gave the owners 17 conditions to meet, including requiring a 1 a.m. curfew for entertainment and pat-downs of patrons. The operators, who did not return requests for comment, will need to report back to the commission on their progress. If they don’t clean up their act, their entertainment permit could be revoked.

Police permit Officer Tobius Moore said the owners have not cleaned up their act. Just one week after the commission issued its ruling, Moore said, a fight involving more than 100 people spilled onto Clement Street from the venue about 1:30 a.m. An officer was assaulted and one person was arrested.

Moore said that was just one of many incidents in the past few months.

Since October, 21 incidents — ranging from fights to noise — have required police to respond. On some calls, cops witnessed security guards consuming alcohol; on others occasions, security was nowhere to be seen when fights broke out.

Moore said he has two officers posted at the bar around closing time.

“It’s a huge burden,” he said. “They can be doing police work, answering calls and self-initiated policing as well, and instead they have to sit and baby-sit. It’s ridiculous.”

RockIt Room owner Tim Choy told the commission during a February meeting that things were changing. Since receiving permit conditions, Choy has met with SF Safe — a nonprofit that helps improve quality of life in neighborhoods — and a security assessment is under way, SF Safe Program Director Irina Chatsova said.

But David Lee — who recently resigned as the police community advisory board chair for the neighborhood — said conditions have not improved.

“It speaks to the community’s need to get more involved with late-night entertainment,” Lee said. “We’re keeping a very close eye on them.”

Lee Parmalee, owner of RockIt Room neighbor the Dirty Trix bar, said she is hopeful things will change with the club.

“I want a music venue on Clement Street,” Parmalee said. “But I don’t want it to import crime.”

Conditions for site to stay open

Entertainment must cease at 1 a.m.

Must not accept party buses at any time

Send updated security plan to Entertainment Commission

Send calendar of upcoming events every four weeks

Have one security guard posted on sidewalk and one at the door at all times

All guards must have state-issued guard cards

Bar staff must be ABC trained and copies of certification sent to commission within 30 days

Install surveillance cameras inside and outside the door to the venue

Must improve current soundproofing

Must increase ratio of security personnel to one guard per 40 patrons

All security must wear distinctive clothing

Must pat down and electronically scan every patron

Security must patrol 100 feet in every direction of the club until 2:30 a.m.

If using outside promoters, there must be a contract in place prior to event, and they must have special event insurance and be registered with city

Owners must meet with SF Safe

Security staff must not drink or be under the influence during shift

Lights must be on at 1:30 a.m.

Source: SFPD