I love a place with a little history. The McNear Building in Petaluma has a lot of that.
The Mystic Theater is on the left. McNear's Saloon & Dining House is on the right. There was even some outside seating. A perk during pandemic travel times.
Don and I visited McNear's during our stay in Petaluma last July. We were able to walk from our hotel.
The two buildings looked inviting, with the glowing movie marquee and the lights above the patio.
1886 & 1911
The McNear Building looked only slightly different, 100+ years ago. This old image shows a horse and buggy, instead of a red pick up. There was no theatre either. Candies and electricity!
The saloon on the right was built by John A. McNear in 1886. The building on the left was added in 1911. The McNear Family owned these buildings until 1976, when the current owners purchased.
We stepped inside the saloon and I took a good look at the floor.
I assume the tile is original. I was hoping we'd see more hints of history.
It was busy when we stepped inside, so no one greeted us right away. Except for this guy in his taped up skirt.
I'm not sure what the story is with this character, but he looked a little out of place.
There were some furry characters inviting us in, as well.
There were a few seats open at the bar, if we wanted to meet up with some local characters. We used to happily do that, on our pre-covid travels.
We were vaccinated during our travels in July. The world was feeling safer. But mingling at a bar has lost its appeal lately. We chose a table in an airy room beside the patio.
It was July, but as the sun lowered the open windows brought in chilly air. I was glad to be inside.
I didn't set expectations high for food. We'd chosen the place because of it's old charm, not good food reviews. Bar food often tastes like bar food.
But Don's Rueben, was actually pretty fabulous. It was served on a fresh roll and the fries were hot and crispy!
I love soup on a doily... in a saloon! That made me grin.
But the hot and spicy soup made me even happier. It was packed with chicken and cheese and fresh veggies. I love cilantro, so I was happy. I guess those "No Cilantro People" know the ask ahead. Perfect soup for me!
After we ate, it was time to wander.
We headed up a set of stairs in the center of the saloon and took in a good view of diners/drinkers below. I wonder how many were Petaluma locals?
Red Bull Room
I'm pretty sure the upstairs room was called the Red Bull Room. It looked like the space was used for private gatherings.
There were no people upstairs, but lots of people in black and white photos on the brick wall. The famous (and less famous) faces, showed the talents who have performed at the Mystic Theatre. In the 1990's the old theatre next door, became a venue for live performance.
This old poster from 1929 showed the January calendar of entertainment. I spotted Tom Mix, in the Lone Ranger and Rin Tin Tin!
I liked the reminder on the top line. "The Theatre Needs You" & "You Need the Theatre" Fitting words for 1929 and 2021.
Red Bull & Martini
I wish we could have taken in some live music in the theatre. Or seen an silent movie in the old Vaudeville theatre. I wish we could have had martinis, under the Red Bull.
I wish we could have talked to some locals about what this place was like before it was rescued by the current owners, in 1976. But we enjoyed our own observations and wandering. Hopefully our travels and explorations will involved more people encounters, in the future!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.