Rockit Room club cleans up act to stay open 

click to enlarge Nicer nights: The Rockit Room, located on Clement Street, was threatened with closure earlier this year because of safety violations and frequent calls to police regarding disruptions outside the venue. - GODOFREDO VASQUEZ/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Godofredo Vasquez/Special to the S.F. Examiner
  • Nicer nights: The Rockit Room, located on Clement Street, was threatened with closure earlier this year because of safety violations and frequent calls to police regarding disruptions outside the venue.

It’s been two months since the Rockit Room’s self-imposed 30-day entertainment suspension, and Richmond district police say things couldn’t be better at the club.

According to Permit Officer Tobius Moore, incidents and calls for service are virtually down to zero since the club took a month off to revamp its operations and take a long look at the way it ran the
21-and-over venue.

“There are no permit violations,” Moore said. “The communication between myself and management is night and day. There are no complaints from neighbors and no major incidents.”

During its hiatus, the club’s owners put a new security team in place, changed the way they do show bookings, hired a public relations management firm, began working with the neighborhood safety group SF Safe and opened communication with the neighborhood and nearby businesses, including joining the Geary Boulevard and Clement Street merchants associations.

The club also eliminated its troublesome reggae nights, which frequently were the precursor to incidents in the neighborhood.

Before the suspension, which lasted from April 6 to May 6, the Police Department received calls about the club nearly every night. Between October 2011 and February, an estimated 21 major incidents occurred at or near the club.

As a result, in February, the Entertainment Commission imposed 17 strict permit restrictions on the club and required an update in three months. If the club did not improve, it could’ve faced further restrictions or even a revocation of its entertainment permit.

Some of the conditions ranged from making the club close at 1 a.m. to requiring security to pat down all club patrons.

But things did not immediately change after the commission meeting. According to police, roughly eight calls for service went to the club in the month after the February meeting, including one for a large fight that resulted in the arrest of two suspects for allegedly battering a police officer and resisting arrest. A handful of other arrests and citations were made for public urination. One person was even transported to the hospital and treated for severe intoxication.

The turnaround since then, however, has been a welcome change.

“Thanks for the improvements,” Commission Chairman John Newlin told owner Tim Choy.

In the next few months, Rockit Room also hopes to change its name and start anew, Choy said. He added that although his business has suffered with the changes, he’s optimistic he’ll bounce back in the long run.

“We’ve done a lot of work the past couple of months,” he said. “And we’re trying our best. We want to be more known as a destination place and to be more consistent.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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