Friday, January 05, 2007

New Upscale Lounge in Downtown

While not my cup of tea anymore, there is a new "Euro Lounge" opening in downtown on the corner of 10th and J in the space next to Rodney's Cigar, in addition to the whole second floor.

Parlare Euro Lounge
10th and J Street

Not exactly sure what a "Euro Lounge" is, but it looks very nice and the location is can't miss for the near future. 800 J Lofts, the new JDV hotel, Hyatt, Sheraton, Friday Night Concerts, K Street developments, McCormick and Schmicks, and the proposed Metropolitan and Cathedral Building on the same block.

Looks they are trying do something similar to the very sucessful and very well done Park at 15th and L. While Sac has a plethora of fine dive bar and casual bar establishments to choose from, this type of upscale nightlife, is still lacking, hence the reason The Park can charge a $20 cover. Maybe with a couple more places like this opening, we will see them have to compete with each other and we will see some cover charges go down, which in my mind, $20 is ridiculous for Sacramento, but people are willing to pay it right now. The only places I have been to that charge $20 cover is Vegas. I've never paid more than $10 in SF

The couple times I have gone to The Park, we didn't pay cover since we had dinner at Mason's (which is great), but I would never pay $20 to get into a club. While I used to patronize the upscale places from time to time, after all dressing up and splurging is fun every now and then, right now I have little desire given my current stage in life, but I think it's very important to diversity the nightlife in the central city and another place like The Park is needed.

Problem is, it seems midtown is where all the regular bars are located and all the upscale stuff is popping up downtown. I'm sure the new nightclub that is one part of the 10th and K project will be of the upscale variety as well, thought I think it may attract a slightly older crowd.

As a person already living in the downtown area, I'd like to see a couple casual bars and pubs open in downtown. A good mix of different enviroments is what is needed. The new Cabana at 12th and K is a joke. (The old K Bar and Buddha Bar). The space is WAY too small for what they are trying to do. A more casual place, which don't mean a dive bar, would work well for the after theatre crowds from Imax, Commuinty Center, and Crest instead of spending money time and time again to recreate a theme lounge that only works for a VERY short period of time.

I am sure the upscale establishments will be attractive to younger people who live or want to live in the central city, or anywhere in Sac for that matter, but watering holes (like the new R15) where people just drop in for a drink and to shot some pool or watch the game without getting all dressed up to a $10 cover and $8 for a mixed drink will be in even bigger demand in the future, in my opinion.

Right now, downtown is more of a destination for office workers, convention goers, and restaurant/nightlife goers...a neighborhood is also needed. The more casual bars are more condusive in areas with higher residence, like midtown. As more people start living downtown and want that casual place to pop in for a drink to watch the game or on weekends with friends, we should start seeing more open.


Anonymous said...

Hey- I think I know what "European" means. It means "there are no plasma screen TVs in this place. You don't have to watch the game EVERYWHERE".

(Unless I'm missing something in the picture.)

Anonymous said...

OH! Almost forgot LIUS. Did you see the Bee this past weekend? There was a bit about the incoming restaurants in Sac. Of note: the new wine bar in 1801 L is going to simply be called "L". It's being done by one of the guys from the Kitchen.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Tunel 21 v 2.0 . But if it brings em dtwn , so be it . . .

wburg said...

One rumor I have heard is that this bar will displace Rodney's Liquors, which ain't so: Rodney's got a bit of a remodel but they aren't going anywhere, and this will be upstairs, as well as in the ground floor of what was DeRow & Sharma men's clothiers. I'd consider the Sheraton hotel bar at the Public Market building to be a pretty good example of a downtown bar that isn't a dive bar. It's not strictly upscale but going in there dressed scruffy is a sure way to attract security, while going in dressed nicely is a good way to feel like a bigshot without paying $20 cover.

How would you figure the bars in Old Sacramento into this equation? Despite their reputations, Old Sacramento has calmed down quite a bit lately, and a lot of the Old Sac bars, both new and old, are seeking ways to redefine the bar & live music scene down there. And since there is residential going into Old Sac (in the building across from the Railroad Museum and the planned re-creation of the Orleans Hotel on 2nd Street) there will be a similar situation to downtown.

Personally I'm not a fan of "upscale" anything, but I suppose it serves a purpose for people who want to spend gobs of money on their booze. I just hope to heck that the handful of remaining downtown scary dive bars (basically Henry's and the Chambers Room) are left alone.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Anonymous - I will be shocked if there is no plasma in that place. It would be nice if they didn't but I have to think there will be one.

I love wine and have high hopes for L Wine Bar. Anybody that comes from The Kitchen will def get a look from me. That ara around 18th and L will have 3 wine bars within 2 blocks once Grand Wines opens, then L Wine, along with 58 Degrees.

58 Degrees is good, but they lack space and need a wider selection on their wine list...and it doesn't change often.

You are correct, wburg. They are taking the old DeRow & Sharma space, and the upstairs. I've had detailed looks at this space a short time ago, and the concept they are planning with an upstairs and downstairs bars will work great.

Honestly, I never go out in Old Sac. I go there once in a while, but never to go to a bar. SOmeone else would have to comment on that. All I know is that there used to be a lot of problems a little while back.

Old Sac should be Sacramento's form of a bit tammer Burbon Street with LOTS of live music.

I think Henry's is safe for auite some time, but I think Chambers Room will give way to something else over time.

TD said...

Well I know I'll check it out at least a few times. I'm the kinda person that feels at home in a dive or a trendy place and anything in between. maybe i'm just an alcoholic who loves downtown, but it works out well for me.

I think that's a good point about competition. The park has a strangle hold on this demographic, and can basically charge whatever they want.

Many downtown/midtown dwellers don't appreciate the upscale places, but i like people coming into the city to have fun - be it a chilren's museum or a fancy pants club, i get a kick out of people ejoying this city.

Old Sac is alright, but the problem is that there are no "neighborhood bars". There aren't many places in Old Sac that have much of an identity because the patrons are mostly transient party-ers, visitors or tourists. Though, I admitedly only go there about 4 or 5 time a year. I amm always a firm believer that having actual residents is the first remedy towards this situation, and I'm really excited about the Old Sac condo and apartment projects.

I'd also like to add that as a former resident at 13th & H, we used to go to the Clarion or the Sheraton bars for a more relaxed drink without a cover - but try as they may, a hotel can never make a local feel at home, like a good bar should.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Good points, TD.

The upscale scene may not be everyones thing, but its all about providing a wide range of options for people that will suit everyone desires.

"i get a kick out of people enjoying this city."


Speaking of the children's museum, does anyone out there have any info on what is going on with it? Their website hasn't been updated in forever

or the Unity Center at 16th and N?

I'd really like to write something on these new cultural facilites, but I haven't been able to dig anything up.

wburg said...

Mentioning the children's museum to Cathy Taylor (head of capitol area parks & museums) will make her roll her eyes even more than the ongoing (and thankfully ended) delays with the railyards sales. Don't plan on taking your kids--maybe your grandkids will see it.

I have a soft spot for Old Sac. It personifies Sacramento in a lot of ways: kind of cheesy on the surface, but lots of unsuspected depth. There is potential for lots of nightlife, but as a designated "entertainment district" it has hurdles to overcome in order to feel like a neighborhood. And of course I can't wait for residents of the new residential projects to start whining about how it's noisy and try to get the clubs shut down, like the folks at St. Anton trying to shut down the Distillery.

I like people coming into downtown to have fun, too--I used to be one of those folks, until about 1993. I came looking for weird underground stuff that wasn't offered in the suburbs, and live music, and was not disappointed. As various islands of blandness grow around us, downtown has the opportunity to live up to its role as center for diverse, bohemian type activities, as well as overpriced upscale ones. Why make a 90 minute trip to San Francisco when you can catch a performance art troupe or freak-folk act in some amazing basement spot downtown?

LivingInUrbanSac said...

"as well as overpriced upscale ones"

I do think there have been some 'upscale' places that have opened that while a little spendy are not overpriced and are quite worth it. You just pay a little more ambience and food quality sometimes, which is worth it to some, not to others.

Mason's is very very good. Just as much substance as style. Bistro 33 while a little sterile, has good food,a reasonable price and a nice atmosphere, if The Park was $10 cover instead of $20, I would consider it worthy it from time to time.

I think Ella's at 12th and K will be another that falls into that bucket. Buddha Bar and Cabanna are jokes and def not worth the money.

As I mentioned before, getting dressed and spending some cash is fun, just not the norm for me right now.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Also, sucks to hear about the Childrens Museum. That would be a great way to bring families downtown. Oh well...1

On the basement spot topic, I have been meaning to check out Fools Foundation, I've heard good things about that place.

Anonymous said...

Hey, did you all see the new "Three Monkeys" restaurant under construction on K? It's round the corner from Starbucks, right next to the ice rink. Website exists, but is under construction.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Yeah, that's been in the works for quite some time. The menu is going to consist of sushi and steaks...two items that are def not lacking in the grid.

Seems like it's a good use of space though in that building and any activity on K Street is welcome activity. Plus, it will have a lot of outdoor seating.

Speaking of the building, I also love the Sun Building it's located in.

Anonymous said...

Agreed on that building. There are a handfull of such buildings on K that need to be spared in the development process (I would also suggest the Kress building, among others).
The wife and I took a walk down K Street today from the mall to Temple Coffee. Amazing the number of tenants who have relocated to other parts of the city. Not all bad- I think that the comic store moving next to the Bread Store is a good thing-no other comic stores there, and that might make a sweet Second Saturday stop, if they stay open.
Anyhoo, it gets your juices flowing with thoughts of all the possibilities.

wburg said...

A better way to bring families downtown would be a few more developments capable of handling families, instead of the tiny urbanloftliving style projects. The schools downtown also need some work.

The main problem with a "Children's Museum" in Old Sacramento is that it would be grossly out of place for the building to not match the rest of Old Sacramento. It also seems like there are quite a few kid-friendly museums down there already (the Discovery, CSRM, Old Sac itself) and the 1849 bowl is the only public plaza in the area. The city used to use it to show movies in the summer but that fell by the wayside a few years back.

For info on Fools Foundation as well as some other interesting basements, check out which links to a lot of Sacramento's less talked about cultural events, and quite frankly some of the best shows in the region.

I was very glad to see Big Brother Comics move to J and 17th: it feels like the old comic shops that used to be in midtown in the 80s/90s like World's Best, House of Monkey etcetera. They do plan on being open on Second Saturday nights, and late-night operation in general is something they hope for. I'm just glad to have a comic shop I can walk to again.

About buildings that need to be spared the development process: The Bel-Vue at 8th and L (across from the Berry) is at risk of demolition. The app got kicked back because they hadn't completed an EIR, but it's a listed historic structure. Supposedly the land is wanted to be part of the Saca/Mohanna tower that they're clearing off 8th and K for.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Well, the part about needing more family housing goes without saying, but that's not to say we don't need the high end and smaller units for those demographics that we are seeing right now as well, we just need the other part of the equation too. Just like the topic on nightlife

The Bel-Vue is the only building part of that project that holds any value to me, at least aesthetically. But I'm okay with letting it to go clear the way for that block to be developed.