Santa Rosa’s La Rosa Lounge closes after weekend stabbing

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A brawl that sent a man to the hospital with a stab wound early Sunday has prompted the closure of La Rosa Tequileria & Grille’s nightclub, the restaurant’s owner announced Wednesday.

The fight involving more than 15 people was the last straw after years of recurring problems at La Rosa Lounge, namely fights between a few select patrons, said Darren Chapple, who opened the restaurant in 2011 and the lounge space about two years later. It was more violent than what his employees have seen in the past, he said.

“This wasn’t just a fight that went down; it was a very intense and dramatic,” Chapple said. “It’s a major financial hit for us but in the interest of the longevity of the business, we intend to close that space for the next couple years.”

The fight broke out around 1 a.m. A club security camera caught the attack, as several people beat on a man, even after he was unconscious.

Officers found a 28-year-old Santa Rosa man lying on a patio outside the venue, the Santa Rosa Police Department said. The man was taken to a hospital with a stab wound to his back and a broken nose, but he was expected to survive.

Police did not provide details on the investigation Wednesday afternoon. However, Sgt. Johnathan Wolf, who supervises officers in the city’s downtown area, did provide information on the number of calls for service at the lounge over the past two years. They included 21 disturbance calls, 17 calls about fights, nine reports of battery, eight unwanted guests calls and four reports of someone drunk in public.

“It’s the kind of thing where there’s not a lot going on until there’s a lot going on,” Wolf said of the lounge.

Wolf said the calls were not limited to restaurant patrons, but could have also included people in the general area outside the business. The club, open Friday and Saturday nights and during the Wednesday Night Market, is surrounded by several other establishments that stay open late during the weekend, including the Stout Brothers Pub & Restaurant, Belly Left Coast Kitchen & Taproom and Beer Baron.

Although La Rosa Lounge will be closed to the public, Chapple said the space will still be available to rent for private events, such as weddings. He estimated he’ll lose with the closure about a half-million dollars a year.

“It sucks,” he said. “It’s only two nights out of the week, but you’ve seen the lines out the door. So, it’s a lot of revenue to pass up.”

Other since-shuttered night clubs in downtown Santa Rosa have seen their share of violence over the years.

In 2014, a 29-year-old man was stabbed and a woman was punched in the face as they exited the Chrome Lotus nightclub, the current location of 3 Disciples Brewing on Mendocino Avenue near Seventh Street. The man’s injuries weren’t considered life-threatening. Police arrested Troy Michael Moore, 29, of Santa Rosa, on suspicion of battery and assault with a deadly weapon with gang enhancements.

A year prior, gunfire rang out at Epic Social Lounge on Mendocino Avenue. Police arrested David Montano, 27, who was suspected of shooting bouncer Silivaai Aiono, 24, in the stomach as he escorted him out of the club. Aiono survived.

In December 2006, Matthew Toste, a 32-year-old construction worker, was shot dead as he walked to the Seven Ultralounge on Seventh Street by Joe Lopez, 18. Witnesses said Lopez, along with four other men, started a fight by making sexually suggestive remarks at two women who accompanied Toste.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or nashelly.chavez@pressdemocrat.com.

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