A piece of Thousand Oaks tradition is coming to Santa Clarita this month.
“Country Nights” at Borderline Bar and Grill were once a 45-minute drive from Santa Clarita to Thousand Oaks, until a mass shooting in November killed 12 and closed the bar indefinitely.
Prior to that, almost every week dozens of Santa Clarita Valley residents made the drive to line dance and make memories. Now, The Canyon Santa Clarita will give them another opportunity. Every Thursday starting Jan. 24, there will be a “Country Night” put on by Borderline.
Venue owner Lance Sterling, who also owns another The Canyon club in Agoura Hills, said he had always planned on doing a country night — and the traditional place for those sorts of events had always been Borderline.
“The Borderline guys are the people that get country bands and know country in the community,” Sterling said. “I’m the rock and roll guy, so if people like Styx or want to bring some rock and roll music onto the scene, they contact me. For people that like Toby Keith, they contact Brian (Hynes, owner of Borderline Bar and Grill).”
Hynes had always been aware that Santa Clarita residents made a weekly commute out to his bar, and he wanted to bring the SCV following some joy after the shooting. He began hosting country nights at The Canyon in Agoura Hills starting Dec. 20, and says he figured he should bring it to its other fan base.
“Ever since the shooting, there have been people in parking lots, dirt fields, so many places healing and getting together to dance,” Hynes said. “We’ve had hundreds of people show up to where the DJs (from Borderline) are playing music.
“The country dance community is very strong, and they love to dance,” he said. “So we want to have them have places they can keep finding family.”
On Thursdays, there will be two separate classes, at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. respectively, with line dances for people to learn. After the classes, the regular dancing will go on until 1 a.m.
Hynes himself said he plans to go.
He was a patron at Borderline for over 24 years, beginning attendance only a year after the bar opened. He owned the place for 10 years and hosted many a country night for bar-goers.
“If I leave the house and party, it’s usually for a country night,” he said. “That’s just my thing.”
Hynes hopes that bringing the country nights to Santa Clarita will bring healing for everyone who considered Borderline a beloved place.
“The entertainment at Borderline was the dancing,” he said. “We had 800 regulars that would come in throughout the month, a couple hundred at a time, and line dance. Once you learn a couple dances, you could bring them to the venue and bond with everyone around you. It was really something.”
Hynes’ bar remains closed. But while Borderline the venue isn’t open, Hynes hopes people can keep its spirit alive and continue dancing at other music venues throughout the area.
He doesn’t know when Borderline will reopen and says it’s up in the air with insurance. But he hopes it will, even if country nights live on in Santa Clarita and Agoura.
“We are still working together to try and answer that question,” he said. “But I know that the community can really heal if they have a place to dance. Which is why we’re bringing it to The Canyon locations.”
The Canyon Santa Clarita is located in the Westfield Valencia Town Center at 24201 Valencia Blvd., No. 1351.