Mainstay of Merced’s music, bar scene is back
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
I’M PROUD OF HOW IT TURNED OUT. I’M PROUD TO BE IN MERCED AND HAVE COOL THINGS, AND DO COOL THINGS, AND OFFER COOL THINGS FOR PEOPLE.
RC ESSIG, AN OWNER OF THE PARTISAN
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.
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.
The Partisan closed for renovations in March 2015. It started pouring drinks again this week. The first show is set for Nov. 3.