Goodbye Kitty's - With Cabaret License Revoked, DJ Kitty Shutters Her Beloved Emeryville Music Bar And Heads To Brazil

Posted by Billyjam, August 13, 2011 08:20am | Post a Comment
Samba Guisse at Kitty's, Emeryville

It's goodbye Kitty and hello Brazil for the owner of  East Bay music bar Kitty's in Emeryville following this Sunday's final blow-out goodbye party when Kitty Faria (Kitty English) (aka DJ Kitty pictured below) will sadly shutter her beloved music bar that she co-owned with Bill MacBeath. But she won't waste time lamenting. Instead this independent-thinking, self-driven, business woman/avid music lover (and former KALX DJ) will head down south to Brazil to begin a new life, and likely a new bar down there - one that hopefully will not get stifled by the local bureaucrats who killed the Emeryville bar that bore her name.

Tucked in an off-the-beaten-track location on Hollis Street in Emeryville for the past five and a half years, Kitty's bar/music emporium was a most inviting East Bay destination to head out to and enjoy DJs (no cover) spinning funk, soul, hip-hop, roots reggae, dancehall, samba, and countless other cool genres. All were guaranteed to pack the dance floor. It was also a spot to go to hear and see live ensembles such as Samba Guisse with Fouta Toro delivering soulful percussive music from Senegal, West Africa (see above set from a couple of years ago). Kitty's also offered a nice patio for warm evenings and attracted a diverse crowd, typically in their 20s to 30s. Fun was had by (nearly) all.  But for the hundreds upon hundreds of fun-packed, music-loving, peaceful nights and afternoons at Kitty's, it was one unfortunate and widely-publicized night of violence earlier this year, when a big ugly fight broke out, that will forever blemish the positive image of the club and resulted in Kitty's cabaret license being revoked.

The fight that erupted at Kitty's happened late one February night this year, just near closing time. It was apparently started by an argument between two women but soon spiraled out of control. Kitty estimated those involved to number about 30 but said the "grotesquely exaggerated" press reports wrongly stated that 180 people were involved in the melee. The Emeryville police responded by sending out a slew of squad cars with a total of 35 cops converging on the scene. It wasn't pretty, but no one was killed in the fight. No one was even hospitalized. In fact only two people were arrested on misdemeanor charges of obstructing, resisting, and delaying police. But the cops and the city officials of Emeryville were not impressed and apparently didn't want the bother of the possibility of such a scenario being repeated within their city lines. Soon after when the club's cabaret license came up for renewal, the City of Emeryville revoked it. The math was simple but fatal to the club. "No license = not surviving," said Kitty.
While understandably saddened by the demise of her club, Kitty will not allow it to drag her down. Hence the bright idea of moving to Brazil and the festive blowout goodbye party tomorrow -- Sunday, August 14th from 4pm to closing time. Billed as the "LAST DAY OF KITTY'S MONSTER GOING AWAY BASH!!!!!," Kitty's Facebook event's page for the grand finale simply states, "After 5.5 years we are closing. Please stop by that day to pay your respects! For that matter, stop by every day this week. We'd love it if you do!" But scroll down a bit on that Facebook page and you will see testimonials from fans of this special East Bay bar. One saddened Kitty's fan, who lives in Alameda, called it her "home away from home." Another regular wrote, "I am so sad Kitty's is closing. Your dancefloor convinced me to marry my husband."

Longtime Bay Area hip-hop DJ Joe Quixx, who was among the many DJs who spun there regularly, told me that, "Spinning at Kitty's was always a great time. As a DJ I always appreciate a bar/club with a great sound system, and Kitty's had one of my favorites!" Despite this not being the greatest time, I asked Kitty what her fondest memory of the bar was. "My fondest memory," she replied with a slight pause. "I dunno. Back in the beginning when we were making big $$$ and it was all easy!"

And what can folks expect on Sunday, the last day? "I guess we'll have BBQ. Hoping to have some DJ's roll in and play sets," she said of the final soiree, adding that folks should come in the interim since Kitty's will also be until then. But tomorrow, Sunday, is the final day to say Goodbye Kitty and Goodbye Kitty's!

Relevant Tags

Kitty Faria (2), Kitty's (2)