Are piano bars the key to saving El Paseo?

El Paseo, Palm Desert’s slowing dying shopping and restaurant district, has been looking for ways to save itself from death for what seems like forever now with plans ranging from  a movie theater, taller buildings, professional offices, and balloons!  None of the plans have seemed to catch fire with the public in Making El Paseo Great Again (#MEPGA) so far, leading to El Paseo just contining to do what it has been doing: staying put in yesteryear while other Coachella Valley cities not only pass it by, but lap it. But wait, thanks to the Desert Sun posting literally every letter to the editor it is receiving in the month of July, one reader has a couple suggestions to save El Paseo.

Here is the letter in full:

I have lived in Palm Desert for 15 years and the recent article regarding allowing more business fronts on El Paseo has prompted me to express my concern for this landmark area.

El Paseo is a beautiful street, with beautiful people that promenade, but very few places from which we can sit and admire. The few restaurants with outdoor dining seem to be doing well. However, most restaurants and sitting areas are set back or up, and only the fortunate few who are placed near the windows can enjoy the street view.

In addition, conference attendees bused to El Paseo for fine dining who wish to stroll after their meal find only dark storefronts after 7 or 8 p.m., few misters to keep them comfortable and no music is heard to lure them in for an after-dinner drink.

I would suggest that offices remain on the east end of the street. Keep restaurants and shops concentrated mid-to-west end so that walking is easier and encouraged. Create inviting rest stops and add misters. Provide some regularly scheduled entertainment.

Taco trucks are not the answer. Good music (i.e., piano bars), food and art are our forté. Be creative!

Okay, I have to be honest here, the only thing I can think about now is grabbing a tasty carne asada taco or two from a food truck and, yes, I would even drive to El Paseo and endure listening to shitty piano bar music if that’s what it took.

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  1. I went on one of my quarter-annual or so trips that way yesterday. The old-fartiness is strong there, my friend. And in the other Cities of Walls — Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells.

    Someone once told me that development in Palm Desert killed Palm Springs. Well, maybe that was true, but I think it’s become clear that Palm Springs was only knocked down for a while. There’s only so long you can pander to the rich geriatric crowd before your target audience is gone. I hope Palm Springs learned its lesson from the blight of the previous years and continues to do what it needs to do to stay relevant. A piano bar is okay sometimes, but it ain’t gonna get the kids to drop their coins.