4th Street Vine owners announce plans to sell their space to local musician Dustin Lovelis

After a long battle to keep their business afloat during the pandemic, the owners of local bar and music venue 4th Street Vine announced their plans to sell the space to local musician Dustin Lovelis and his wife, Emily. The news was announced on the venue’s Instagram page Tuesday.

On the Instagram post announcing the news, the owners stated that while COVID-19 and the shutdowns that resulted hadn’t made their choice to sell their business any easier, owners Jim Ritson and Sophia Sandoval had been talking about selling their space for months. Ultimately their decision came down to “personal reasons,” namely to spend more time with their 12-year-old son, Diego, and to pursue “other ventures” the couple are involved with, including the Bamboo Club and Ya Sabes.

Ritson said they’re still waiting for the paperwork to be finalized, but wanted to announce the change of ownership so that the Lovelises could begin the transition and formulate their business plans, adding that he expects the deal to “close shortly.”

“It was definitely shocking and sad; it’s such a great place,” Tatiana Velasquez, guitarist and singer of local indie outfit Asi Fui, said. “But, it’s on their terms. So I’m happy they’re pursuing whatever is next for them in life.”

4th Street Vine has been a long-standing fixture in the city’s music scene since opening in 2008. For nearly all of its 12 years of operations, the space hosted concerts seven days a week, offering music-loving locals a place to catch an intimate show anytime, and local fledgling bands an accessible platform to perform in a professional setting. Hundreds of bands, like Asi Fui, can say that 4th Street Vine was their first live gig.

“The community that grew inside of our bar was something we never could have planned for,” the owners wrote on their venue’s Instagram post. “Punk Rock, to Hip-hop to Blues, to Psyche, to traveling concert pianists to noise bands to freak shows to goth and pop and everything in between. When people asked if their band could play, we always said yes.”

Wanting to keep their vision for the space alive, Ritson and Sandoval decided that the best fit for new ownership would come straight from the music community and offered the space to Dustin and Emily Lovelis, who have long been a part of the city’s music landscape as musicians, patrons and supporters of the scene.

“We wanted to make sure that whoever bought it didn’t let down the community that’s grown there. I feel like we’ve made the right choice.” Ritson said. “I’m just gonna really miss being a part of the music scene.”

Dustin is multi-instrumentalist known for his work as a solo artist, playing live shows all over the city, including the inaugural Music Tastes Good Festival in 2016 and formerly as the primary vocalist for indie pop-rock band, The Fling, which produced five studio albums and toured internationally before going on hiatus in 2014.

“I guess the biggest takeaway would probably be that we’re not really changing things a whole lot,” Dustin said. “We’re kind of taking what humans have been built and worked so hard to build. We were so integrated, and part of it that we want to continue that kind of seamlessly and without turning any heads, because we really liked what they built. And I think it’s really important for the community to have.”

Dustin and Emily said they don’t have any plans to open now, but they are currently trying to formulate a plan to open, temporarily, as a bottle shop with delivery, as well as food to-go until able to resume normal operations.

“Once the stay-at-home order is lifted we plan on operating within state guidelines as safely as possible,” Dustin said. “Hoping for business as usual in the spring. Come on, vaccine!”

 

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Cheantay Jensen is reporter and videographer who covers art and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post.
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