A piece of San Diego punk history is coming to an end. After 32 years, Wabash Hall is closing its doors. Owner Ron Hall, who bought the venue in 1984 and ran a screen-printing and embroidery service there, is selling the property at 3855 Wabash Ave. in North Park.
"I'm planning on retiring," he says in a phone interview. "I may be keeping a sales office, but I'm definitely getting rid of the manufacturing."
Hall didn't say who the buyer of the property was, but suggested it would likely be used in a different capacity going forward. In the past five years there haven't been any live shows there. Hall says city regulations prevented it from being legally feasible.
"The city made it hard to do that unless you bought a cabaret license," he says. "Licensing and liability issues were what brought an end to it."
Wabash Hall became a legendary venue for punk shows in the 1980s, hosting a number of iconic punk and hardcore bands such as The Descendents, The Circle Jerks, D.R.I. and Samhain. Local promoters like The Casbah's Tim Mays booked shows there in its early days, and brought a lot of talent to its stage.
"I didn't know anything about the concert business," Hall says. "Tim pulled me aside one night after one of his concerts was over and said 'How did you like that?' I didn't understand why people would beat each other up at a show, but he said if you like that style of music, you'd be amazed at the degree of talent that came through here.
"It's funny to look back—he was right."