In the battle over who has the right to operate a couple of bistros in the Hard Rock San Diego , celebrity nightclub owner Rande Gerber who leased them, or Tarsadia Hotels that developed the hotel, Tarsadia has taken the hill , at least for now.
On Feb. 5, about a week after kicking Gerber’s crew out of the Sweetwater Saloon and Moonstone Lounge amid allegations of mismanagement and verbal and physical abuse on the part of the bars’ employees, Tarsadia reopened the street-level Sweetwater.
But Gerber denies the allegations and says he’s taking legal action against Tarsadia. He also disputes the hotel company’s right to use the Sweetwater and Moonstone names.
Tarsadia spokeswoman Lynn Kozlowski said that the Sweetwater was back in business with 30 employees, and that some of them were former Gerber employees, but she didn’t say how many. Neither did she say whether the bars’ names would be retained.
In all, Gerber had 150 employees at the two bars.
Kozlowski also said that the Moonstone, an upper level bar on hotel’s pool deck, would reopen soon, but she was unsure when.
Gerber, who has 30 nightclubs across the United States and abroad, says Tarsadia violated the terms of his lease agreement by shutting him out, and that its primary motive was to make up for revenue lost through declining hotel room occupancy. The Hard Rock’s guest rooms are owned by individual investors.
Gerber also said Tarsadia made the attempt eight months ago to double his rent.
Kozlowski declined to cite the Hard Rock’s room occupancy or average daily rate for 2008. She did not comment on the matter of the rent increase.
Gerber says that under his management, the two bars had revenue of $10 million in their first year in business.
The hotel and the bars opened 14 months ago.
, Connie Lewis