Iconic South Street Music Venue for Sale Amid Sexual Assault Scandal

Plus: Kenney and Krasner fight back tears at press conference about the Temple police officer murder.

philadelphia music venue dobbs -- formerly known as jc dobbs -- on south street, which is now for sale amid allegations of sexual assault at the property

Philadelphia music venue Dobbs — formerly known as JC Dobbs — on South Street is now for sale amid allegations of a sexual assault inside the building (photo by Kimberly Callahan)

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South Street Music Venue Dobbs for Sale Amid Sexual Assault Scandal

As the Philadelphia Police Department continues to investigate a woman’s allegations that she was sexually assaulted inside the building that houses iconic music venue Dobbs (formerly known as JC Dobbs) on South Street after a show there, the owner of Dobbs is selling the business.

“He is saddened and devastated,” says broker Matthew Titus of Dobbs owner Ron Dangler, who did not reply to my initial request for comment. “He was not part of the allegations, but his employees were.”

Later, Dangler messaged me to say he’s hoping to not have to sell. But, he said, “if I cannot get the music community back behind us, the venue is dead.”

The asking price for Dobbs is $550,000, which includes the liquor license. And the property owners, who are separate from Dangler, are selling the Dobbs building at 304 South Street, packaged with both 306 and 308 South Street, for $3.6 million. According to Titus, they are not willing to sell the properties individually.

The trouble at Dobbs started on February 3rd, when a woman alleges she was sexually assaulted in the building after a concert.

The following message was posted by the Dobbs Facebook page in the days following the concert:

Dobbs (owner) is aware of allegations of sexual assault by two employees of Dobbs, after the Venue closed, in a private residence attached to the bar building. We take this matter extremely seriously and have fired the two employees involved, pending a full and complete investigation.

We are doing everything in our power to assure that there is full and rigorous investigation by the Philadelphia police, at this time while we have confirmation that a report has been filed and we have asked that the police launch a full investigation I have specified we will cooperate fully in the pursuit of Justice in this matter. We have offered all security Camera access to the premises as well as first hand witness accounts to those that were present on the night of the alleged incident.

Dobbs stands in solidarity with all survivors of sexual assault. We will seek community support and resources to ensure that Dobbs will continue to be a safer space for all who wish to join.

We are committing to providing Philadelphia with high quality music in a safe and welcoming environment. Thank you for your continued support.

— Ron Dangler

But then Dangler deleted the message, reportedly on the advice of his attorney. And then, per the Inquirer, Dangler came to the defense of his employees, saying they had actually done nothing wrong and that the woman’s allegations were untrue. Meanwhile, word of all this was spreading on social media, and band after band canceled their shows at Dobbs, boycotting the venue.

In happier times, Dobbs, then known as JC Dobbs, was one of those “I was there when …” places, having hosted the before-they-were-famous likes of Nirvana, Soul Asylum, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Green Day, the Indigo Girls and the Offspring.

JC Dobbs originally opened in 1975 and closed in the mid ’90s before reopening under new ownership as the Pontiac Bar & Grill. But the Pontiac wasn’t a big success, and the original JC Dobbs owners reopened the venue as JC Dobbs. That didn’t work out, JC Dobbs closed again, and somebody else reopened the venue as the Legendary Dobbs. But it turned out the Legendary Dobbs wasn’t as legendary as it thought. It closed. And then came Dangler, who reopened the venue as Dobbs on South Street in 2021.

More on this story as it develops.

The Latest on the Temple Police Officer Shooting

Police arrested 18-year-old Bucks County resident Miles Pfeffer on Sunday morning, charging him with Saturday’s murder of Temple police officer Christopher Fitzgerald. This morning, officials held a press conference about the murder.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, district attorney Larry Krasner, and Temple vice president for public affairs Jennifer Griffin held back tears as they made remarks, with Kenney calling it an “extremely terrible weekend.” Temple president Jason Wingard said that the university was unable to fulfill its mandate to provide a world class education to its students due to the gun crisis that he said is “ravaging Philadelphia.” Police commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Pfeffer had “little regard for the lives of others.”

Homicide inspector Ernest Ransom described the content of surveillance videos from the area of the killing. Ransom said Pfeffer shot Fitzgerald, who had been in a foot pursuit of Pfeffer and two other males, multiple times in the face before Fitzgerald fell to the ground. Then, said Ransom, Pfeffer fired three additional shots at Fitzgerald. According to Ransom, Pfeffer started to run away but then turned back and unsuccessfully attempted to steal Fitzgerald’s gun before leaving the scene and carjacking a woman nearby.

Ransom also shed light on exactly how police were able to identify Pfeffer so quickly. He said that a police officer attempting to come to Fitzgerald’s aid encountered the two other males, ages 16 and 17, whom she detained while sorting out what was going on. Eventually, the teens were transported to the homicide unit, where they quickly identified Pfeffer as the shooter, said Ransom.

Later in the press conference, Kenney lamented firearms laws in Pennsylvania, angrily calling the state “gun crazy.”

FBI Agent Shoots Dog

We’re still trying to piece this one together, but reports are that an off-duty FBI agent shot and killed a dog during an encounter with their own dog near 15th and Spruce on Monday evening.

Here’s a statement from the FBI:

The FBI is reviewing a shooting incident this evening on 1500 block of Spruce St, Philadelphia, involving an FBI special agent. Initial information is that the agent shot & wounded an aggressive dog. There were no other injuries. The FBI takes all shooting incidents involving our agents/task force members seriously. We’re working jointly with Philadelphia Police & FBI Inspection Division to investigate the incident.

An animal rights organization is planning a protest for Tuesday.

An Up-and-Down Weather Week

Yes, it’s true. We’re going to hit 72 degrees on Thursday. But first: rain. A little today. A lot tomorrow. And on Friday? The day after that 72-degree day? A low of 24. Don’t break out your bikinis just yet.

It’s Mardi Gras!

And you know what that means? Crawfish cheesesteaks. Yes, I said crawfish cheesesteaks. Well, and buckets of crawfish. And lots of beads. And lively New Orleans-style jazz. All at Chris’ Jazz Cafe at 1421 Sansom Street starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Now where can I get fastnachts in Philadelphia?

And from the We-Back-Yet? Sports Desk …

The NBA put on its All-Star Game on Sunday at 6:30. Joel Embiid, playing after all — there was some thought he wouldn’t because of his sore foot — was the first pick of starters for team captain LeBron James, who was playing in his 19th All-Star game. Joel — Philly’s sole rep in the game, which was a travesty — hit for 15 points in the first half, with liberal substitutions. The first quarter ended tied, and Team Giannis won the second, 51-46. But Jayson Tatum’s 55 points gave Team Giannis the edge in the end. Final score (as if anybody really cares/cared): 184-175. Joel had 32 points, tied for second on his team with Kyrie Irving behind Jaylen Brown’s 35.

And speaking of All-Stars, 24-year-old Mac McClung, a G-League product out of Georgetown and Texas Tech who was signed by the Sixers a week ago (on Valentine’s Day, no less!), was the standout star in the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night:

Nineteen out of the judges’ 20 votes on McClung were perfect 50s; the exception was a sole 49 on his second round. We don’t know exactly what the higher-ups have in mind for Mac, but he sure is fun to watch so far.

In college hoops, there was plenty going on over the holiday weekend. On Friday night, Penn (15-11) squeaked past Yale (17-7), 66-64. On Saturday, St. Joe’s  (13-14) lost another heartbreaker, this time to Davidson (12-14), 76-75. La Salle (13-14) lost as well, to George Mason (16-12), 70-66. The Drexel Dragons (15-14) fell to the Hampton Pirates (7-22), 75-72. Villanova dropped to 13-14 with a loss at Providence (20-7), 85-72. And the Penn Quakers (15-11) easily knocked off the Brown Bears (13-11), 87-66, at the Palestra.

On Sunday, Temple (15-13) pounded Tulsa (5-21), 76-53.

Tonight, we’ve got Villanova at Xavier at 6:30 and VCU at St. Joe’s at 7.

The Flyers also played.

All Philly Today Sports Desk coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.