Main­stay of Merced’s mu­sic, bar scene is back

Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - Front Page - BY THAD­DEUS MILLER tmiller@mer­ced­

Af­ter be­ing closed for an up­grade for more than three years, pop­u­lar bar and live mu­sic venue The Par­ti­san has started pour­ing drinks again.

A Main Street main­stay since 2007, the bar closed for ren­o­va­tions in March 2015.

The own­ers an­nounced on Face­book the bar opened in re­cent days to “let us prac­tice,” and the first of­fi­cial show is set for Nov. 3, when the Good Luck Thrift Store Out­fit will per­form.

RC Essig, one of its own­ers, es­ti­mated in 2015 the bar would be closed less than six months. That turned into more than three years as one of the own­ers, Tim Williams, did much of the work in­side and out him­self.

“We did all the work our­selves,” Essig said on Fri­day. “It was an old build­ing. We wanted to build some­thing that would last for gen­er­a­tions.”

Vanessa Hof­mann and Joey Essig also part­nered in the ven­ture. The four busi­ness part­ners also brought 17th Street Pub­lic House to down­town in 2013.

The Par­ti­san’s bar, which used to be sunken down into the floor, was short­ened and pulled out from the wall, RC Essig said. The venue also added a per­ma­nent stage for per­form­ers.

“Ev­ery­thing was built in here, from the pil­lars, bar top, ev­ery­thing,” Essig said about the pop­u­lar drink­ing hole. “Ev­ery­body missed the mu­sic, but for a lot of peo­ple it was just their place to go.”

The up­grade resur­faced the floor, which is the same floor



that dates back to the 1800s.

Williams used the bar’s ex­ist­ing pan­el­ing to make the geo­met­ric de­signs that cover the ceil­ing, Essig said.

The old Par­ti­san had a dive bar feel to it. The re­mod­el­ing may have shined the bar up, but own­ers plan to keep the old men­tal­ity, Essig said.

“I’m proud of how it turned out,” he said. “I’m proud to be in Merced and have cool things, and do cool things, and of­fer cool things for peo­ple.”

Mayor Mike Mur­phy said he re­cently toured the in­side of the bar and said he was im­pressed with it.

“Our goal is to make down­town Merced the re­gional leader in arts and en­ter­tain­ment,” he said. “And that’s oc­cur­ring. It’s the small busi­nesses and bou­tique shops that give the char­ac­ter and the warmth to down­town Merced.”

Mur­phy noted a num­ber of projects are on­go­ing to up­grade older Merced build­ings, like Ho­tel Tioga, Mainzer The­ater and El Cap­i­tan Ho­tel, as well as fa­cade up­grades at Gottschalk Mu­sic Cen­ter and Trevino’s.

Ear­lier this year, dur­ing the Play­house Merced Gala, res­i­dents do­nated about $25,000 to beau­tify the front and back en­trances of the Play­house.

RC Essig was also named ear­lier this year as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Play­house Merced.

Mike Ham­mar and the Nails are also lined up to play at The Par­ti­san on Nov. 17. Essig said they plan to roll out trivia nights, open mics and other en­ter­tain­ment the bar used to host.

Along with the up­grades, the own­ers built a kitchen into the build­ing. So food of­fered at the bar will come with time, he said.

The build­ing, which dates to the 1800s, had never pre­vi­ously had any ma­jor im­prove­ments.

Be­fore The Par­ti­san, the site was home to Trails End bar and Rudy’s Jazz and Blues lounge.

The build­ing was a sa­loon be­tween 1885 and 1888 when it be­came Fred Clough’s Fur­ni­ture Store, ac­cord­ing to the state’s his­toric re­sources in­ven­tory.

THAD­DEUS MILLER tmiller@mer­ced­sun­

Af­ter a re­model that took more than three years, The Par­ti­san – a main­stay on Main Street since 2007 – be­gan pour­ing drinks again this week. The venue’s first of­fi­cial show is set for Nov. 3, when the Good Luck Thrift Store Out­fit is sched­uled to per­form.

THAD­DEUS MILLER tmiller@mer­ced­sun­

The Par­ti­san closed for ren­o­va­tions in March 2015. It started pour­ing drinks again this week. The first show is set for Nov. 3.

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