Any true Huntington Beach local, old or new, responds to the mention of the Golden Bear with a knowing nod of the head. The beloved iconic rock venue shuttered in 1986, but it undoubtedly left its mark on the local community. On Monday, December 1, a memorial plaque will be unveiled at the former site of the nightclub at 306 Pacific Coast Highway (Main and PCH) at 1 p.m. in a special ceremony. Come one, come all, remember our old stomping ground.
Following its opening in the late 1920s, the brick art deco building evolved from a Greek restaurant to a popular music venue, which saw its heyday from 1974-1986. Over the years, the small stage presented famous music, poetry, and comedy acts, like Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, B.B. King, Linda Ronstadt, Kenny Rogers, Neil Diamond, John Denver, Peter Gabriel, Oingo Boingo, Poison, Charles Bukowski, and Robin Williams.
Financial setbacks forced the Bear to close its doors in 1986, and developers literally came in with a wrecking ball shortly thereafter, demolishing the local institution that gave so many wonderful people so many wonderful memories.
On Monday, the City of HB will honor its musical history nearly 20 years later by unveiling the plaque in a special "dedication ceremony featuring folks who lived 'The Bear,'" according to the City of HB Public Information Office. Speakers include Joe Carchio, Huntington Beach Councilmember; Duane Wentworth, president of the Huntington Beach Historic Resource Board; Chris Epting, author-music journalist-event emcee; Robert Carvounas, author of "A History of the Golden Bear, Huntington Beach;" Carole Babiracki-Kirby, Golden Bear owner from 1974-1986; Chuck Babiracki, Golden Bear owner from 1974-1986; Kevin Kirby, Golden Bear manager-supervisor from 1970s-1986; and Roy Zartman, intermittent sound man from 1976-1986.
Guests will have the chance to peruse displayed memorabilia and photos, as well as score a copy of Carvounas' book, which is also available online.
The air will surely be thick with nostalgia. Rock on, Huntington Beach.