Main­stay of Merced’s mu­sic, bar scene is back

Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - Front Page - BY THAD­DEUS MILLER tmiller@mer­ced­sun-star.com

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.

THAD­DEUS MILLER tmiller@mer­ced­sun­star.com

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@mer­ced­sun­star.com

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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