Dirty Birds Denied Alcohol License for Ocean Beach Location

by on April 3, 2019 · 36 comments

in Ocean Beach

According to the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control website, Dirty Birds – the eatery trying to open in the new OB Plaza – has had their application for an alcohol license denied. The site says “VOIDED” but that’s the same thing.

The eatery had applied for a full bar type of license at their new location at 1929 Cable Street. The OB Planning Board voted to approve a recommendation for their application if they stopped serving alcohol at 10pm.

The site is within Census tract: 0075.02. Work inside the place seems to have halted.

Mr. Motto;s Pizza House’s license is still pending. They’re located right adjacent to Dirty Birds.


{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

d9 April 3, 2019 at 4:35 pm

As it should be! Thanks for the update.


retired botanist April 3, 2019 at 5:07 pm

yep, finally some rational response. Mr. Motto’s as well?! That application somehow went by my radar, but have to say, hope its denied. No particular offense against either establishment, well that’s not quite true as I don’t get the need for more wing places (and btw/just sayin’, has anyone ever realized that these places never actually serve WINGS?- just thighs/drumsticks and whatevers, but they are never anatomical avian wings- don’t believe me? start paying attention) and sports TVs, but we all know OB is more than saturated with alcohol…


Chris April 3, 2019 at 6:07 pm

So the wings I had at the other DB’s locations were not wings?


retired botanist April 3, 2019 at 6:51 pm

Haha, Chris, wondering if anyone would weigh in on this humorous aside. :-) So I have, for amusement, checked in every establishment/grocery store/ TGI friday or other wing-slingin’ places I’ve been in, out of curiosity, to see if what are sold as “wings” are actually wings, and turns out, my stats reveal that for every, lets say 12 pieces, only 2 of the 12 turn out to be actual wings, the other 10 being thighs or drumsticks or some other such parts of chickens. I’ve never been to a DB, and am not a “wing eater”, but, as a biologist, it is a bit of a misnomer! :-)


Mr. Peabody April 4, 2019 at 2:37 pm

It is true restaurants shouldn’t misrepresent various parts of the chicken as “wings”. To be fair, you shouldn’t misrepresent your aside as “humorous”.


retired botanist April 5, 2019 at 6:03 am

Mr. P- Fair enough. And I expect for vegetarians, people who care about ethically sourced meats, and people who care about fraudulent advertising and labeling, it isn’t funny at all. The potential presence of yet another alcohol licensed establishment in OB is perhaps the least humorous- does that sound more accurate to you?


Mr. Peabody April 5, 2019 at 7:53 am

I have been a vegetarian for years and see no humor one way or the other in a restaurant that serves meat. I repsect other people’s choices as I appreciate other people respecting mine. You offered no evidence that Dirty Birds uses meat from any unethical sources, so it is hard to guage whether or not people would see that as funny. As for fraudelent advertising, you may have a point if they were not really chicken. I will let you in on another restaurant secret: if the menu says chicken fingers, don’t expect a basket of claws. They are actually made of breast meat.

Another alcohol licensed establishment isn’t going to exacerbate the problems Ocean Beach faces any further. People aren’t going to drink any less because there won’t be a Dirty Birds. They will just crowd into already packed bars. Also, not everyone who frequents establishments with liquor licences drinks and not all those who do get to the point of inebriation. At some point you have to make an effort to change the behavior of those consuming the alcohol or any other intoxicant. There are more people walking around Ocean Beach stoned out of their minds than you see falling down drunk. People seem to feel as though that since this is a neighborhood near the beach that laws do not apply. You see it in dogs off of leashes, dog feces everywhere, and dope smokers on a non-smoking beach. A little more enforcement of laws for public intoxication or stiffer fines for current bars who overserve may be just as effective as making sure no new restaurants serve beer.

Now if I can jump down from my soapbox without breaking my neck, I will address my original comment. You do not label your own aside as humorous giving yourself a pat on the back. Others may compliment you but you don’t add it yourself. You throw around that were/are a botanist/biologist so you must have a university education and know this. To be most accurate, the poor sentence structure and use of “:)” by someone educated is the real least humorous thing about your post.

Have a nice day.


retired botanist April 5, 2019 at 12:46 pm

Ok, Mr. P- anything else you want to add? I’m a poorly educated, self-inflated, individual with poor writing skillZ who thinks chickens actually have fingers. Dope smokers and dog turds in OB are possibly more prevalent than people who imbibe too much alcohol, and some restaurant patrons are non-drinkers and vegetarians. Thanks for improving the education you’ve assumed I have! And I guess since you’ve concluded from my moniker that I actually am a botanist, can I conclude from your moniker that you hang around with someone named Sherman? While I’d love to add a smiley face, I guess I’d better not go there!


Bob April 5, 2019 at 8:07 am

There are 3 parts to the chicken “wing” , the drummet, the flat, and the tip. These are different than the drumstick and thighs. Most restos buy “disjointed” wings. See, it’s not that hard to understand!


retired botanist April 5, 2019 at 1:11 pm

Bob, you’re right! And my epic fail at trying to be lighthearted has been dutifully chastised on all levels! And we couldn’t call the end of the wing the ‘wing-tip’ or people might think they were eating shoes! And Buffalo Flats just doesn’t sound as good as Buffalo Wings, right? And now we’ve well and truly beaten this thread down to its nubbin. Hangin’ my head and slinkin’ home… *smiley face*


Debbie April 3, 2019 at 5:19 pm

Why discriminate…have all liquor establishments close at the same time. I think 10 is too early but maybe for Monday-Thursday that would be good and then midnight for all other nights to discourage the drunks to leave OB at a reasonable hour. Maybe that would help cut done on crime, noise etc. It’s worth a try.


Kathy Blavatt April 3, 2019 at 6:38 pm

I think there were laws about having liquor by schools. This is half a block from Sacred Heart Academy Preschool. Remember the stink made about the VFW being by Warren Walker School? I have never understood how all the beer tasting rooms were able to be so close to OB Elementary School. It would be nice if the City would explain the laws to the planning boards before they vote. And maybe explain the laws to the rest of us too!


Vern April 4, 2019 at 8:44 am

City code can probably be loosely interpreted:
City of SD
§141.0502 Alcoholic Beverage Outlets

(b) Limited Use Regulations. Alcoholic beverage outlets are permitted as a
limited use subject to the following regulations.
(1) Alcoholic beverage outlets are not permitted in any of the following
(A) Within a census tract, or within 600 feet of a census tract,
where the general crime rate exceeds the citywide average
general crime rate by more than 20 percent;
(B) Within a census tract, or within 600 feet of a census tract,
where the ratio of alcohol beverage outlets exceeds the
standards established by California Business and Professional
Code section 23958.4;
(C) In an adopted Redevelopment Project Area;
(D) Within 600 feet of a public or private accredited school, a
public park, a playground or recreational area, a church, a
hospital, or a San Diego County welfare district office; and
(E) Within 100 feet of a residentially zoned property


kh April 4, 2019 at 11:09 am

That only applies to new Type 20 and 21 licenses after 1995, such as a liquor store or grocery store, and even then they can get around it if they get a Conditional Use Permit. (That’s how Apple Tree did.)

20 OFF SALE BEER & WINE – (Package Store) Authorizes the sale of beer and wine for consumption off the premises where sold. Minors are allowed on the premises.

21 OFF SALE GENERAL – (Package Store) Authorizes the sale of beer, wine and distilled spirits for consumption off the premises where sold. Minors are allowed on the premises.


Nah April 3, 2019 at 6:56 pm



micporte April 4, 2019 at 4:10 am

I would say from a lifetime of drunken beach parties, (navy parents) that we have to stop enabling enablers of drunk parents enabling drunk children, no future in that. I hope they go bankrupt very much, one less bar, more respect for the future of humanity, in San Diego, California’s first city…


Chris April 4, 2019 at 11:32 am

You want them to go bankrupt? I doubt that will happen anyway since there are three other locations doing quite well (something you already know by virtue of living in SD). Disturbing to think you are a parent.


nostalgic April 4, 2019 at 7:58 am

What was the OB Planning Board vote count to approve?


Frank Gormlie April 4, 2019 at 10:45 am

Motion: approve license of alcohol sales with the condition alcohol sales prohibited after 10pm.

It passed 9 to 2. https://obrag.org/2019/02/ob-planners-approve-liquor-license-for-dirty-birds-but-with-a-condition/


Scott April 4, 2019 at 12:45 pm

I’ve generally been against the expansion of a thousand liqueur licenses in OB but am disappointing this place is the spot they randomly chose to draw the line. I live on Saratoga 2 blocks from all the bars. I’m a parent with a child at Sacred Heart and another soon to be going to OBE. I was excited for Dirty Birds. I love wings and they’ve got great wings. They do sports well and are more family friendly than any other places with decent wings in OB. Unlike all the tasting rooms where literally the only thing to do is drink at least this place serves some food. Also, the owners are local and made completely reasonable compromise on their hours (which clearly would hurt their bottom line). I wish them the best of luck moving this through.


Pete R April 4, 2019 at 4:39 pm

I don’t understand how a bar-based business could invest millions in a new location without first ensuring they could get a liquor license. Who made that business plan?

A cursory amount of research reveals that OB’s census tract is over the limit for liquor establishments – meaning you either need to obtain special approval for a new license (very difficult) or you need to purchase an existing license from someone else. How could the owners have failed to anticipate this?


Geoff Page April 4, 2019 at 5:36 pm

I would suggest you read the detailed Rag story about the meeting when the OB Board voted to approve, it has a lot of good detail in it. https://obrag.org/2019/02/ob-planners-approve-liquor-license-for-dirty-birds-but-with-a-condition/


Frank Gormlie April 4, 2019 at 7:39 pm

Right? You’d think! Nice to hear from you Pete.


Bob April 5, 2019 at 8:10 am

Ahhh, how do u secure the liquor license with out dumping money into a project??? Please explain.


ZZ April 5, 2019 at 12:39 pm

The building they want to locate in was empty for about three years, and then under construction for another year. Why not apply during that long period?


Pete R April 5, 2019 at 2:34 pm

According to the February article linked by Geoff, Dirty Birds claims that a full liquor license (not simply beer/wine) is absolutely necessary for their business to survive. If that’s true, then basic risk management dictates securing the liquor license early as possible, before making any other substantial investments.

That doesn’t mean spending absolutely nothing while waiting for the license to come through. But it DOES mean not allowing your project to get to 90% completion (where it is now) before you know the result.


ZZ April 4, 2019 at 4:40 pm

I agree with Scott this is an odd type of place to draw the line… but it needed to be done, and I am glad it happened.

Also, it might be a small and local chain, it remains a chain restaurant seeking a full bar license. No thank you! The lack of chain businesses is one of the reasons I moved here.

If they really want to open up so much at that location, how about they buy an existing license so there is one fewer place selling alcohol nearby?

Did the Shell station on Sunset Cliffs and Voltaire ever get a liquor license it applied for?


Debbie April 4, 2019 at 5:10 pm
Debbie April 4, 2019 at 5:12 pm

You can look up health violations here https://www.sdfoodinfo.org/restaurant.html


Frank Gormlie April 4, 2019 at 7:18 pm

Fox5 reported: ““Certainly, the oversaturation levels, and the crime levels played a factor in our decision,” Melissa Ryan with the ABC said. She said the restaurant filed an appeal and will go in front of an administrative judge for a final decision.” Stay tuned.


rick callejon April 4, 2019 at 11:30 pm

They will get the license, as will Target. Cheers!


OB LOCE May 23, 2019 at 1:55 pm

When is Dirty Birds going to open that is what I would like to know? This town could use the tax revenue from its popularity, the food is top notch, the atmosphere is stellar, the wings are the best around, and its local owned. All this complaining about liquor is ridiculous. These are good people let them serve.


Vern May 24, 2019 at 6:48 am

Dirty Birds should consider Liberty Station. It’s a perfect spot for a chicken wing place!


Debbie May 24, 2019 at 6:55 am

There are there since December 2016-2970 Truxtun Rd #9, San Diego, CA 92106

Kind of a gross name for a restaurant IMO


Vern May 24, 2019 at 10:54 am

Well, there you go.
Dirty Birds is a good name for the Liberty Station location… all that plane soot., eh?


Debbie May 29, 2019 at 8:42 am
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