Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sid's Blue Beet, Newport Beach

Anonymous asks if anyone else remembers a place in Newport Beach called, "Sid's Blue Beet"...

Anyone recall Sid's Blue Beet in Newport near the pier? Funky place with loads of ambiance and great live music. Sid, the onetime owner is wanted by the law and word has it, is hiding out in Vegas. It was hopping in the 70's.
Sid's Blue Beet is now "Blue Beet Cafe". I've never been there, but had heard about it.

I wonder if the person writing is either someone looking for Sid, or maybe Sid himself.

44 comments:

  1. I did a feature story on Sid and the Blue Beet decades ago for the Orange County edition of the Los Angeles Times. It was pre-electronic archives so I have no idea if it could still be accessed but I can check. It was 1978 or 1979. Track me down at my day e-mail at jean.pasco@rec.ocgov.com.

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  2. I doubt the person writing is Sid himself, that is unless where ever he is spending eternity has internet access. Sid Soffer passed on in January 2007 in Las Vegas, about age 73 or so. Leukemia and diabetes if I remember correctly. He was run out of Newport because of building code violations. He refused to comply. That is just like him-fighting authority the whole way.

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  3. I belive Sid Sofer has passed away and he was in exile in Las Vegas.

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  4. SID'S BLUE BEET!!
    DURING THE HIPPIES DAYS OF ORANGE COUNTY.
    I WAS THERE A FEW TIMES BACK THEN.
    LOUD ROCK MUSIC.
    JUST LIKE THE BOOMBOOM ROOM IN LAGUNA,BEACH.

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  5. Wow... the Blue Beet. In the 70's my girlfriend and I used to go there to see a Spanish guitarist named Felipe. He had big old sausage fingers and a battered nylon-stringed guitar. He played the hell out of that thing. Awesome.

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  6. My parents played at Sid's on a regular basis back in the '60's. Anyone out there remember Bob And Marianne? I'd love to here about them if you do.

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  7. I'd like to know about Bob and Marianne's singing at the Blue Beet as well. I heard they rocked.

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  8. Was Felipe from Spain or Argentina? I remember him. I don't think he sang though. Anyone remember?

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  9. Re: Felipe
    I once asked him (in Spanish) where he was from and he said "España, originalmente". He may have come to the U.S. by way of Argentina... quien sabe?
    He did sing his own rendition of the Ames Brothers 'You, You, You', in broken English. It was totally charming. In all the times I saw him it was the only song he sang; everything else he did was instrumental.

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  10. I was always blown away by his version of ' Oh Shenandoah,' the American folk song. How old was he when he played there? Probably my age now---He always seemed so old!

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  11. I'd reckon that Felipe was in his late forties/early fifties, possibly even younger. His face was somewhat weather-beaten from his work as a fisherman so it's hard to say. He seemed really ancient to me, too, but I was still in high school... back then everyone over 30 was old and crusty!

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  12. What was the Bob Dylan quote... "Never trust anyone over 30." I too thought 30 or so was way old and probably would have guessed Felipe to be mid-50s, but he seemed someone I would have trusted. Probably because he was a music kind of guy. Are you the one who posted he brought his girlfriend to the Blue Beet and talked to him in Spanish? I would love to remember his last name and google him to see if there is any info on him floating around. I would love to hear any recordings of his. Anyone remember his last name?

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  13. "What was the Bob Dylan quote... 'Never trust anyone over 30.'"
    Actually that quote was from someone in the Berkeley free speech movement. I think it was Jerry Rubin who popularized it. He was over 30 at the time so it turned out to be pretty sound advice.

    "I too thought 30 or so was way old and probably would have guessed Felipe to be mid-50s"
    I wouldn't be surprised if he was quite a bit younger. We were wearing Youth Goggles™ in those days.

    "Are you the one who posted he brought his girlfriend to the Blue Beet and talked to him in Spanish?"
    Yep, same guy.

    "Anyone remember his last name?"
    I like to think of him as having only one name, like Madonna or Liberace. 'Yo soy..... Felipe.'

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  14. Is there still music being played at the Blue Beet? If so, what type?

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  15. I've heard that quote about not trusting anyone over 30 attributed to the Beatles and Jerry Garcia also. It was probably just a counter-culture-hip thing to say. Does anyone remember when the Senor Felipe played at the BB? To the guy who talked with Felipe, how do you know he was a fisherman???

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  16. Wasn't Sid living in Costa Mesa. As I recall, he and the city did not get along so well. Something about his property turning into a junkyard. I believe it was full of old broken down Cadillacs.

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  17. I lived just down the street (parking lot) at 2202 Oceanfront Blvd in the early 70's and remember walking by Sid's Blue Beat several times a day and often stopping to listen to the music. I didn't drink back then so I didn't go in.

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  18. I used to work as a waitress at Sid's so many years ago. I remember taking a phone call for Sid from someone named "Bob someone" and having another employee whisper to me that it was really Evil Knievel, a good friend of Sid's.
    My favorite story involved taking a togo order for the nicest steak, baked potato, salad, etc. and as I was trying to pack it ever so carefully the customer said"Oh don't bother with that. All of this is going into a blender for a guy that has his broken jaw wired shut and he'll be eating this through a straw."
    It was definitely a fun job!

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  19. i remember sid's blue beet from the 70's. he had all the tables in a checkerboard pattern.

    i remember Felipe also! great flamenco guitarist and really nice person.

    and i remember all the dollaar bills and IOUs tacked on the ceiling. the story was that when sailors came in from the sea, they would give a dollar and it would be tacked up with four tacks. each tack represented a drink. when the sailor had four drinks, the dollar was taken down and put in the till.

    the food there was incredible, cooked in those heated cast iron pans...

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  20. I have to say reading all these stories about Sid's Blue Beet is very interesting. The Blue Beet is one of my favorite bars on the penisula for sooo many different reasons. For one, they still have great music! Mostly rock cover bands, but I haven't seen one performance I haven't enjoyed. Actually, there hasn't been one time I've been there I haven't enjoyed myself. The roof top patio is my all time favorite. They have an 80's night on Tuesday's that is spectacular!

    And yes, Sid did die in Las Vegas in 2007. And he was run out of town for a number of reasons.

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  21. Didn't Sid also have a restaurant on old newport blvd? And was his wife asian and had her own restaurant also on old newport??

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  22. Yea, a great place on Newport (Sid's); no sign out front, great cheap steaks, and brown sugar carrots with them; good stuff!

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  23. Wasn't Sid's wife's restaurant called 'Issey' or something similar? And didn't it burn down about 1990? Does anyone know, was this the same restaurant that Sid had on old newport blvd?

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  24. Did Sid's restaurant have music?

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  25. yeah, Sid's had local bands on weekends.

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  26. I got physically removed ( kicked out ) of Blue Beat back in 1988. I just took a swig of beer and someone said something funny and spit it out all over the floor. The bouncer said I could never come back. 3 weeks later I was back.... I saw the bouncer a few months later at a house party and he remembered me. Said he was just doing his job.

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  27. How well I remember Sid's Blue Beet :) My dad was a regular there when I was in middle school (Ensign) back in the late 60's. We lived on 39th street for years and also he would take my sister and I there -we loved the music and the best steaks ever cmae from there...Seems to me though that my Mom used to get Beef Burgundy over noodles that she was crazy about. I sure miss the good ol' days. My Mother passed in 2008 but she mentioned Sid's often over the years...

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  28. I remember going there for dinner back in the late 60's and early 70's and listening to the music. There was no salt or pepper on the tables. All the beef was seasoned. One thing I found I really liked was gravy he put over the rice. I still eat it that way after 40 yrs. Wish someone would bring back that type of restaurant today.

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  29. Does anyone remember the Italian restaurant on Old Newport Blvd. located near Sid's restaurant ? It had oil paintings of Playboy centerfold models. The food was good but the pictures turned off the family clientele.

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  30. Reading about everyone's experiences at a restaurant/bar that still lingers in my memory is so fun!! I was a waitress there while a student at UCI - somewhere around 1977 and 1978. The restaurant was super dark, and we let patrons wait at the entrance until their eyes adjusted. Sid kept red cellophane over the light fixtures, and yes the tablecloths were checkered. We shook them out after each customer and turned them over. Sid would get hopping mad if we turned them into the laundry and got another, which I did anyway when wine was spilled all over. He was quite a difficult boss - very hostile and seemed to hate women. In spite of this, or maybe because of this, the employees bonded together and supported each other. It was a wonderful place to work because of Sid and in spite of Sid. No salt and pepper, and no ketchup meant we didn't have to sit around refilling stuff. Cleaning? There was no cleaning - the floor was really dirty, but no one knew because it was so dark in there!! The music was wonderful, the food too - although as a student I could only afford the garlic bread and a bottle of XXamber. I loved the place before I ever worked there, so while at the bar, I asked the bartender if they needed any help and he hired me on the spot. My fellow waitresses were super nice ladies and I wish I could say hello one more time. Hello!! I don't remember your names - wish I did - but I have never forgotton you. Love to you all if you should ever read this! - Cheryl

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  31. If i remember correctly? I played thee a time or two!!!

    JJ Mack
    orange beach, al.
    251-752-3116

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    1. Didn't you buy into the Lucky Lion over on Newport Blvd? I used to here you there in the early 70's.

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  32. Ya this is Tammy Sue Mayers and if anyone knows how to find the SOB WHO OPENED this BLUE BEET cafe tell him to fire me before grand opening was uncalled for I can see if I did something wrong but I was devastated and clueless on WHY HE let me go. I remember asking more about "THE SID THING" next thing I now was I'm without a job LOL and went back to me beachhouse off of Sea Shore thinking I wonder why SID was wanted by the law and hiding in Las Vagas so now I found a site that maybe I can FIND some closer to that chapter. I HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW after all these years I still THINK ABOUT ALL THAT. I forgot his name so if anyone knows please email at Rxpertise@yahoo.com and if possible WHO WAS THIS SID GUY > i'd appreciate any 411 to put my curious mind at ease. LOTS OF RESPECT, T

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  33. excuse my french words but that's how I felt at that time, Tammy

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  34. Ya this is Tammy Sue Mayers and if anyone knows who the SOB WHO REOPENED BLUE BEETS CAFE IS please email me at Rxpertise@yahoo.com he had fired me before grand opening and all I remember is asking more about THE SID THING AND WHY HE WAS WANTED BY THE LAW next thing I know He fired me before grand opening and i was clueless and devastated going back to my rental beach house off Sea Shore, I HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW after ALL these YEARS so I may find some closer to that chapter I'd appreciate it so I can put my curious mind at peace. LOTS OF RESPECT, T
    p.s. thanks Steve for having a cool website like this I'm not from Orange County I was raised in Sacramento and It's heartbreaking to see the before and AFTERSSSSS TAKE CARE AND WE MIGHT NOT ALWAYS WIN what we've been fighting for but WE will never lose OUR MEMORIES OF YESTERDAY LAND.

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  35. No one came up with Felipe's last name? Well after all this time I am sorry to ear Sid passed as I always thought to look him up in LV and thank him personally for cooking himself for us those $1. if I remember correctly steak dinners on one night of the week..I thimk Wed. in the early 60's...I always knew Felipe as Felipe Perez and we all thought he was other worldly..I remember distinctly he stood aside one night and a beautiful young lady took the stage and sang "All my trials" and it literally brought the roof down..Wish I new her name...What a voice....

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    1. That was my wife Camille

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  36. I loved Sid's Blue Beet back in the late 60's & early 70's. I lived on The Island, on Westcliff Dr. and on River & 53rd back then. Sid's used to serve a small filet and rice with gravy on the rice. Like another person here, I still love brown gravy on my rice because of Sid's. The first time I heard "Last Thing On My Mind" was at Sid's' made popular by Jose Feliciano.I don't remember who sang it at Sids but it was a great rendition. I still love that song and play it on youtube all the time. Newport is horrible now. I hate to go there anymore but I still have friend who I have to visit on occassion. Too crowded and obnoxious people with more money then common sense. Back in teh 60's and 70's, Newport was very cool.

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  37. My mom and dad were telling me about going to Sid's Blue Beet, when they first came to California from Wisconsin, probably between 1963 to 1965, and the guitarist's name was Felipe Perez. He used to say "thank you very much, my next number is..." and go right into his next song. My mom says they kept the Christmas Tree up all year round. She said they used to get dinners for a dollar, either chicken or ribs, and it came with a salad and a good helping of white rice. They used to go to Sid's from their apartment on Normandie, in LA. My mom once asked Felipe how long he'd been playing guitar, and he said "I've been practicing my whole life." My mom and dad are in their early 70's now, and wonder if he's still alive. They loved those times.

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  38. I walked into Sid's one afternoon, two years underage, and ordered a Courvoisier. Sid happened to be working the bar and he laughed at me. "Why do you order that? Because you know how to say it?" He then poured me a small snifter of Hine. "What do you think of that?" Then he poured me a small taste of Delamain. Then he poured me a Yukon Jack liqueur, followed by a Wild Turkey liqueur. Then he told me, "Now get the hell out of here and don't come back until you're 21." He hadn't charged me a dime. I walked home and threw up.

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  39. I walked into Sid's one afternoon, two years underage, and ordered a Courvoisier. Sid happened to be working the bar and he laughed at me. "Why do you order that? Because you know how to say it?" He then poured me a small snifter of Hine. "What do you think of that?" Then he poured me a small taste of Delamain. Then he poured me a Yukon Jack liqueur, followed by a Wild Turkey liqueur. Then he told me, "Now get the hell out of here and don't come back until you're 21." He hadn't charged me a dime. I walked home and threw up.

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  40. I used to go to Sid's Blue Beet in the late 60's in my last years of high school to listen to Phillipe Perez play his Mexican folk music. It was a restaurant so you didn't have to be 21.

    Sid made a record of Phillipe with 8 of his best songs and I bought one. I have since made an audio CD of it and if anyone wants one let me know. Cheap! I don't want to post my email address here. 415 472 1664.

    When Bob left Marianne, a friend of mine, Tom Newbill played guitar for Marianne. In 1972 or so I took over being Marianne's guitarist and we played most weekends till Marianne got into it with Sid and got fired.

    This is real nostalgia folks. Bob Sylvester

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  41. I saw and heard for the first time, Skiles and Henderson at Sid's in 1967. I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe. From there they moved up to the riverboat restaurant (can't remember the name) up the road followed by some good runs in Vegas. Sid always gave some new kids a shot.

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  42. A lot of the comments here coincide with my recollection of the Blue Beet. I went there with my roommates in the early 70’s. I took my first wife there for our first date, because on Thursdays was the Beef Tips and Rice Special night. I remember a salt & pepper incident too. As said in other comments Sid seasoned everything himself in the postage sized kitchen. You could see into the kitchen and see the flames jumping up from the stove. Anyway some guy asked for salt & pepper. The waitress told him Sid seasons the food and he didn’t need any. He insisted so the waitress told Sid. He stormed out of the kitchen and told the guy he didn’t need seasoning. The guy wouldn’t let up. Sid kicked him OUT! As far as music, yes it was Felipe Perez. We called him Jose Feliciano Perez. If any of you remember Jose Feliciano. I would always ask him to play Malagueña or Guadalajara. He would tell me his fingers aren’t as good as they used to be, but eventually would play both. I look at the pictures of the current Blue Beet. It was different back in the 70’s. Don’t remember a sign, there was just a naked light bulb outside the building. As you walked in on the right side of the building you had to take an immediate left turn with another naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling. You’d walk to the end and then take a right turn, (another naked light bulb) walk about 10 more feet until you got to the main part of the building. It was scary the first time I went there. The waitresses were all braless, as most girls were in the 70’s. So it was always a good view even in the darkness of the place. The bar was on the right and kitchen was tucked around to the right too. Always good food, good music and good booze. Fond memories. I left CA in the late 70’s, but did go back a couple times. The old Blue Beet was closed at that time, but did go to the restaurant on Old Newport. I did track down Sid in Vegas and called him. He answered the phone and we talked for about 10 minutes. I told him how much I enjoyed his place. He told me he did sneak back to Newport from time to time. And if I recollect, he said he made an off color remark to the Judge and was held in contempt. That’s when he decided to head to Vegas. He was a crusty old guy and didn’t take any guff from anyone, hence the salt & pepper story. Heard he was also a pain in the ass to the City of Newport Beach City Council too. He didn’t like the government telling people what you can and can’t do with your property and business. My daughter just got back from vacation and was going to eat at the Crab Cooker. I told her to go to Sid’s too because that’s where her mother and I went on our first date. Need to find out if she did. Sid’s was a cool place. If I ever acquire enough money I want to buy Sid’s just to keep it going and maybe to jab a judge or two! rhmag471@aol.com

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