Of Olives and Cherries

After four years as a live-music venue, San Marcos's Longshot Saloon has shut down. The owner of the building, Paul Eckert, says that three weeks ago the fixtures were removed, and the Longshot will no longer be a bar.

"I had [the Longshot Saloon] from 1980 until 2002," says Tom Goettle, who owned and operated the business with his partner Flo Mowery. "We had live bands for the first five years, then the Urban Cowboy craze hit us. Everyone wanted a band. There weren't enough bands to go around. We switched to darts and baseball, and we got rid of music in 1985....

"Everybody saw me as the long-haired hippie fuck. They thought, 'If he could do it, I can do this, too.'... But you have to work hard. You have to pull a shift yourself. Flo and I never took any money out of the business. For two and a half years, Flo and I lived off our tips.... Leo's Little Bit of Country and the Mission Inn [in San Marcos] are gone. The Jumping Turtle [in San Marcos] is around, but it's a small-sized room. With all the permits and security guards you have to have, it's hard to make a go of it in North County unless you are a tiny place like Pounder's [in Escondido]."

Goettle says the Longshot closed over three months ago in the aftermath of a wet T-shirt contest.

"They had a deal with [Rock 105.3] that they would do a wet T-shirt contest, but they lost their cabaret license the day before. The city strictly told them not to do it. But they didn't listen and the City of San Marcos got an injunction....

"You can make money at this business, but you have to be prepared to beat the hell out of your [vendors]. You have to know what a goddamn olive costs. You have to know that one marachino cherry costs nine cents. If a kid comes in and wants a Coke with five goddamn cherries, you have to know you are losing money."

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