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Sonora bar becoming teen club

By ABBY SOUZA

A downtown Sonora bar that at one time served methamphetamine dealers, buyers and the occasional minor will now serve smoothies, energy drinks and pizza by the slice to its 16-and-over dance-club clientele.

Blondie's will open Friday at 131 S. Washington St., at the old Dillon's bar location. Dillon's closed Oct. 1, 2002, when its liquor license was suspended after some patrons were convicted of buying and selling methamphetamine there.

"I had so much difficulty with Dillon's," said Jason Lavine, the owner of the Washington Street location and business.

Lavine has owned the building and Dillon's for five years. During that time, the bar's liquor license was temporarily revoked on several different occasions. Serving minors, drug sales and health code violations are all reasons given for Dillon's license revocations over the years.

Dillon's was able to sell liquor again as of Oct. 15, but its doors remained closed.

Instead of re-opening the bar, Lavine said he was looking for another business venture for the location. After talking with his nephew, who said there is little for teen-agers to do in Sonora, Lavine thought he would try turning the building into a dance club.

"Kids love to dance," Lavine said. "They can be here and have a good time and be out of trouble."

Blondie's will be an alcohol-free club, open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights, and tailored toward local high school and junior college students, Lavine said. A $5 cover charge will be collected and a security guard will check I.D.s at the door. With the cover charge, Lavine plans to give patrons a free smoothie, energy drink or glowstick, which he will also sell behind the bar.

Energy drinks include ingredients like caffeine and herbal supplements.

Lavine, who works in commercial real estate both here and in San Francisco, plans to bring in guest disc jockeys from the Bay Area to play on Friday and Saturday nights. Trance, energy and contemporary are the genres of music Lavine said disc jockeys will play. He has also installed a laser light system and fog machine.


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