By Tony Lovitt
The good times are indeed rolling at Good Time Design (GTD). In November, the East Village -based restaurant/nightclub/entertainment design-and-management firm - whose popular downtown venues include Moonshine Flats, The Deck, Bub's @ the Ballpark, The Blind Burro, Cat Eye Club and Lucky's Lunch Counter - will break ground on a $4 million renovation project, transforming Pacific Beach 's Typhoon Saloon and Fred's Mexican Café into Moonshine Beach and Cerveza Jack's, respectively.
"It's similar to Moonshine Flats and The Deck at Moonshine Flats, where it's two or two-and-a-half concepts sitting in one building," says Good Time Design CEO Ty Hauter. "Moonshine Beach will be a sister concept of Moonshine Flats. That means that the heart of the concept will be today's high-energy country straight out of Nashville."
Having developed the concept and booked high-profile musical talent (James Otto, Old Dominion, American Young and Frankie Ballard, to name a few) for East Village's Moonshine Flats, a hootin' an' hollerin' sexy-honky-tonk-vibe that sees 3,000-plus country music fans on a weekend night, Hauter has become an expert of the genre's finer points.
"Downtown, what we do as far as high-energy country music brings in a whole lot of the Southern influenced Texas roadhouse feel," he says. "For PB, our thought is to present a Gulf- Coast-hospitality vibe powered by today's young country artists and attitude straight out of Nashville, Tennessee, and the American Heartland."
With his roots in a tiny Midwestern town, Hauter went to college at Eastern Illinois University, graduating with a degree in political science. He cut his hospitality chops in local watering holes during school, then got started in larger-scale operations while working the Chicago nightclub scene before moving to San Diego in 1990. (Factoid: he met his wife on a blind date set up by this magazine in 2008.) Now, he's got creating successful restaurants and nightspots down to a science.
"By surrounding myself with an awesome and talented team, we're able to give a lot of different quality offerings to the public, and they seem to be highly satisfied with what we've done to this point," he says with a wry smile. "I definitely like to have a lot of things going on when you come into our venues. We are in the entertainment and hospitality business, right? Might as well live free and rock hard."
High-end lighting, video and sound - the caliber of which will be suitable for national touring artists - will help complete the interactive experience. Line dancing led by staff wearing Daisy Dukes, he promises, is the icing on top of the well-developed theme... and just the beginning of what people can expect from the new Garnet Avenue venue.
GTD will run Typhoon Saloon for a few weeks before renovation gets underway, but the transformation of Fred's will begin immediately. Hauter projects a February 2016 completion date for Moonshine Beach, with Cerveza Jack's (wood-fired Mexican fare) being completed by the end of April.
"Like downtown, Moonshine Beach will have a similar stage presence, capable of accommodating up to 1,500 concertgoers," he says. "But, design- and layout-wise, what's coming is a totally brand new venue - and please don't use the word nightclub when you're describing us."
Baseball hats, short shorts, barrels of bourbon and beer, and wood-fire tacos. Whoa there, PB! Y'all's got a rodeo coming to town and, given Hauter's track record, it's likely to stick around for a spell.