Nobu Malibu’s July 4 TUP revoked; city and LASD will enhance parking enforcement on PCH

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Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT

High profile holiday event likely to be held without permit

A flawed and incomplete Temporary Use Permit (TUP) previously approved by the City of Malibu for a July 4 party at Nobu restaurant has been revoked. The TUP was rescinded June 26 after tickets to the exclusive event at the celebrated venue were already being advertised online. Numerous elements of noncompliance and the city’s false assertion that it was required to issue a discretionary permit apparently led to the city’s flip-flop on the restaurant’s permit. 

The annual event led to near-disaster on Pacific Coast Highway last year, infuriating public safety officials and residents when overcrowding at Nobu led to the mother of all traffic jams that snarled access for hours.

The event in question, called “Red, White, and Bootsy,” is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Prices for tables range from $10,000 to $75,000, which include huge amounts of booze. (No alcohol-free spots are advertised.) Guests are required to wear white. Paid sponsorships from luxury brands target the celebrity and influencer clientele attending.

The Malibu Times identified numerous inconsistencies and falsehoods in the application for the TUP. It states the event is by invitation only, yet pricey tickets are advertised by The h.wood.Group, the event’s promoter, online. The application states the party takes place indoors only, while prior Instagram coverage clearly show guests — 700 last year, outnumbering the restaurant’s capacity — occupying the outdoor patio space. The TUP application stated all non-VIP guests were required to arrive by a shuttle service from an off-site location in Santa Monica and stated that no ride-share services or walk-ins would be allowed. However, in advertisements for the event, guests are encouraged to use ride-share services, flatly contrary to the application’s representations. The TUP application also indicated the only drive-up entrances would be for VIP guests, but the number of those entitled to VIP drop-off and parking privileges was not stated in the application or approval and therefore not limited.

Another condition to the TUP regarded not exceeding noise levels. With five different DJs and musical acts advertised, it beggars belief that the revelry could satisfy noise level requirements. A Malibu Times investigation into noise complaints last year revealed no active code enforcement cases against Nobu despite ongoing complaints to the city from neighbors regarding loud music and trash.

The Planning Department’s approval, reported last week, was conditioned on agency approvals and the submission of a satisfactory updated parking plan. That plan appears to have not been submitted.

With paid sponsorships and millions of dollars in revenue at stake from the event it appears unlikely the July 4 event will be cancelled.

The June 10 TUP approval indicated that if Nobu violated its terms it would face a mere $5,000 fine, an entirely inconsequential amount for the deep-pocketed restaurant and event planner.

A public records act request last year revealed that despite the annual July 4 event and various private soirées that engendered numerous complaints from residents, in its 10 years of operation the city had never required a single TUP from Nobu or issued a single fine, save for the after-the-fact TUP granted Nobu and nominal fine stemming from the 2023 fiasco.

Malibu City Councilmember Bruce Silverstein has long been a vocal opponent of the city’s permissive application of permitting rules as set forth in the Malibu municipal code. Silverstein wrote to City Manager Steve McClary and posted on social media, “In my view, the City should demand that Nobu confirm that it will not proceed without a permit in violation of the law, and then seek an emergency Temporary Restraining Order if Nobu does anything other than confirm that it will adhere to the law. And, if Nobu commits to abide by the law and then proceeds with its unlawful special event, the Sheriff’s Department should shut down the event and arrest the manager of the facility…

“I could be mistaken, but I believe that the City Manager has the authority to direct the Acting City Attorney to proceed with emergency enforcement given the lack of time to convene a meeting of the City Council.”

Silverstein goes on to pose the question “whether Nobu will abide by the City of Malibu’s decision or proceed with the unlawful event and simply pay a token ‘fine’ that is a pittance in comparison to the profits Nobu will generate from the event — much like many other scofflaws in Malibu do on a regular basis.”

Although Sheriff’s Department Malibu Liaison Sgt. Christopher Soderlund would not comment directly about Nobu, he did say the department, “will have maximum deployment on July 4. We are going to be deployed to ensure public safety for everyone. The beach team is fully staffed, we have additional traffic deputies on PCH, a helicopter is assigned to Malibu, we will have a mounted posse on horseback, and motorcycle deputies. CHP is in their maximum enforcement period as well.”

The Malibu Times made several attempts to reach The h.woodGroup, the company that buys out the restaurant to put on the event, but has not received a response. Requests for comment were also made to Nobu restaurant this year and last year without response.

The City of Malibu posted a statement on the event.