The Huntington Beach City Council this week banned beer pong and other drinking games at Surf City watering holes.
The ban applies to new restaurants coming to downtown, folding in with regulations the police department started enforcing in September that banned drinking games at Surf City's existing restaurants that serve alcohol.
Huntington Beach, of course, was home to a 2008 satellite tournament for the beer pong world championships in Las Vegas.
City Councilman Don Hansen, who chairs the Downtown Image Ad Hoc Committee, said the ban is part of an ongoing city effort to clean up Main Street by the pier, which becomes party central at nightfall.
More important than the ban on drinking games was moving up the closing time for bars from 2 a.m. to midnight, Hansen told the Los Angeles Times. "We had patrons that go to the bar at 2 a.m. spill back out onto the streets and into residential neighborhoods . . . going to the bathroom right in front of other people's lawns," Hansen said.
The Times' got a reaction to the ban from Bernie Bischof, who does not own a business downtown but does co-own Old World German Restaurant, where beer pong is played. "Personally, who cares?" Bischof reportedly said. "What they think is best is what we'll have to go by."
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Blindly following orders--German style!
Huntington Beach has been on an unending quest to "resort up" downtown, making it more attractive to the upscale tourists who aren't checking in to the big, ugly hotel boxes along PCH, and less so to the hordes of partiers who tear it up on Main Street every weekend.
You want to know what was an upscale restaurant downtown? Silvera's Steak House. Went there on my birthday. It was fab. Went back the next weekend and there was a sign on the door saying they'd gone out of business. It has since re-opened as Rockbar, a sports bar that especially caters to the mixed-martial arts crowd. Maybe city leaders feared grandparents from Iowa being exposed to ultimate caged beer pong matches.
Seriously, if the city continues to drive out the people who do show up downtown at the expense of others who may never show up, someone at City Hall should be held accountable. Of course, given the criminal records of Huntington Beach's elected leaders of the recent past, those someones may already be in jail by then.