Dancing is Illegal within Newport Beach
Drinking and Driving is illegal. You knew that. You probably know that alcohol and dancing seem to go together well, not only because alcohol makes you think you are a good dancer.
Dancing is illegal within Newport Beach city limits – if you are in a public establishment in Newport Beach. I first heard about this unfortunate illegal act when I was moving to the live music at the Village Inn on Balboa Island. I was sitting in a chair. “Chair dancing”, if you will.
“Stop that”, the bartender said. I looked puzzled and started moving again. “Stop that right now – it’s illegal to dance in Newport Beach, and I will throw you out if you do it again.” Flash forward to a week later, when, after some Irish Beer, a group of friends of mine started to “Riverdance” to the Irish Music in the Establishment (the Shamrock), and the owner threw us out. “That’s not allowed, and is against the law”, he said with a scowl.
Was I in an alternate universe in the town in “Footloose”?
The law itself reads as follows:
5.32.090 Prohibited Dancing.
It shall be unlawful for any person to dance in any establishment which does not hold a … dance permit as required by this chapter after being ordered to refrain from dancing by the owner, lessee, manager or other person in charge of such establishment or by any police officer. (Ord. 1053 (part), 1963: 1949 Code § 4309)
The “dance permit” requires a security plan, a certain minimum number of security personnel to a ratio of bar or dance club patrons (to take the load off of the local police), and a rather hefty insurance policy and permit fees. This happened shortly after the City of Newport was sued for a couple of incidents that occurred in 2011, including a shooting at the now defunct Code Nightclub in Newport Beach, and a stabbing New Year’s Eve at a local Newport Beach hotel. Literally too many places to count that used to allow dancing were now closing up the dance floors, moving in tables and chairs, remodeling, and telling people not to dance under penalty of getting thrown out. Some examples include Landmark in Corona Del Mar, Duke’s Place in the Balboa Bay Resort, The Palm Terrace (now the Aqua Lounge), the Marriott’s Sky Room, Windows on the Bay, and countless others, not all of whom immediately closed due to lack of a dancing permit, but many that chose to make drastic changes after the law changed.
One establishment that applied for a dance permit, was granted one, then denied one, and decided to fight, was Woody’s Wharf. In April, 2014, after Woody’s Wharf had applied for and been approved for a dance permit, noting that Woody’s Wharf in Newport Beach had dancing there since 1965, a preliminary injunction was handed down by Judge Derek Hunt at the Harbor Justice Center, barring Woody’s Wharf on the Balboa Peninsula from setting up a dance floor or using its patio past 11 p.m. In February 2015, the California Appeals Court reversed that decision, allowing dancing again at Woody’s in Newport Beach.
The appeals court in their ruling had some harsh words for the City, stating, “The City Council of Newport Beach violated at least two basic principles of fairness in overturning a permit application approved by the city‘s planning commission. . . First basic principle: You cannot be a judge in your case. . . . Second basic principle: You cannot change the rules in the middle of the game.”.
Dancing is not the only thing illegal in Newport Beach, however. The following are all illegal in Newport Beach:
- Bingo is illegal in Newport Beach
- Smoking a pipe after sunset is illegal in Newport Beach
- Carrying a Surfboard while not at the beach is illegal in Newport Beach
- Styrofoam of any kind on the beach is illegal in Newport Beach.
If you’ve been accused of any type of crime in Newport Beach, call us at (949) 682-5316. We can help you no matter how strange the crime.