The party is over for Vice Ultra Lounge in Walnut Creek after co-owner Matt DeLima called it quits Jan. 1, lampooning the demise of what some said was the epicenter for trouble downtown in a video he posted to YouTube.
DeLima staged a tongue-in-cheek videotaped press conference announcing his decision to shutter the lounge to an audience of one, and took a few parting shots at city officials he has said made closing the nightspot a priority since it opened in 2009.
Walnut Creek police and city leaders have said that DeLima brought the trouble down on himself, with multiple reports of streetfights, public drunkenness and drug use by patrons attracting the attention of police over the years. DeLima fired back that he was being singled out, that other bars in the area contributed to the after-hours brawling, and that Walnut Creek police sought to drive him out of town by pulling him over for a series of – he said – unjustified traffic violations.
DeLima was also sharply critical of the city’s 11 p.m. “Last Call” mandate, handed down by the city in an effort to reduce the number of fights – several of which were also captured and posted on YouTube. With that sort of unwanted negative attention and perhaps due to DeLima’s candor and outspoken ways, Vice found itself at the center of a messy confrontation between bar owners, the city council and the police union in the 2010 election.
Police officials said all the nocturnal after-hours activity was taxing their limited resources, city officials said the YouTube posts were shedding a bad light on the city, and the bar owners said the restrictions were infringing on their right to do business.
You can tell from his farewell video where DeLima assigns the blame for Vice’s demise.