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de Vere’s Irish Pub – a sneak preview

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The speed with which development in the downtown/midtown grid takes place can be snail’s pace slow, or lightning fast. Here’s an example of the latter.

One week ago, I drove past the corner of 15th and L and checked out the progress on that corner, where the old Firestone tires store used to be. There is going to be a California Pizza Kitchen on the corner, and upstairs, Mason Wong has already quietly opened his gorgeous new lounge, Mix.

But downstairs, one week ago, the commercial space to the left of those two businesses was bare bones, construction workers doing all that behind the scenes work that civilians can’t really fathom. Electrical, plumbing, etc.

But last night, on my way to a party downtown, I drove past 16th and L, and in that just-recently empty space was…a party! Lights, people…the new de Vere’s Irish Pub was open. Just like that.

So, I stopped in and met several members of the de Vere White family, whose first venture into bar-owning this is. And what a venture – and what a family – this is.

I met the three brothers, Simon, Henry and Mark de Vere White, who are behind this place, along with their parents and other family members. Affable, smart and obviously ambitious, the three de Vere White siblings (and “adopted sister” Josie) gave me an overview of what is going to become the new must-patronize place in Sacramento’s booming nightlife nexus (nearby: Mikuni, Bistro 33, PF Chang, Lucca, Spataro, Dream Ultra Lounge, The Park (Mason’s), Capitol Garage, Zocalo, 58 Degrees and Holding, Old Soul…this downtown is on FIRE).

Saturday night’s event was a private friends and family party – they don’t officially open to the public until Jan. 30 – but after a very short time, I felt like a friend. And that made it that much more fun to peruse the family art work – including a painting done by a way-back relative of a navy ship he painted from the deck of the ship HE captained – that fills the walls. This is one interesting family. They’re local, but I’d never heard of them. But with the opening of de Vere’s, they are set to become much more public. And they are apparently ready for that.

I won’t go on and on about the family itself, though I may in the future. Let me just say that this place is gorgeous, and with good reason: The de Vere White family contracted with a pub builder in Ireland to construct an entire pub to their specifications – gorgeous dark wood bars (two), a hundred-year-old cast iron mantle, dozens of chandeliers and heavy wooden chairs and tables, book shelves and leather-upholstered banquettes – and then had the whole thing shipped to Sacramento.

Then they brought the craftsmen who built the pub in Ireland over as well, and had them assemble the whole thing in their new space at 16th and L – in a week!

They also laid an amazing cement floor, which looks very faux wood – wood planks are pressed into the concrete to mimmick actual wood – but feels very much like…a wood floor! Covered in a slick lacquered surface, of course, it looks and feels wonderful. It is also off-gassing like crazy, so if you’re environmentally-sensitive or even just have a very acute schnozz like me, you might want to give it a few weeks.

But with all the little nooks and snugs the family has built into the place – just inside the front door, there’s a hutch with a small counter built into it and two stools, the better to watch the gathered crowd discretely through the glass hutch – this place already feels like it’s been there for many years.

And they have about 50 different Scotches and Irish whiskeys, and will start serving food on Tuesday. This is instantly one of my favorite places in town, and I plan to go back as soon as possible.

The Fox and Goose and Streets of London suddenly have some very high-class competition – or let’s just think of it as company – a place that’ll is making a big contribution to the almost weekly raising-of-the-bar of Sacramento’s nightlife.


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David Watts Barton

  • Jonathan Mendick

    I’ll be more than glad to write a review of it. If I get a press pass, do you think I can parlay that into a few free drinks?

  • Yvette Lessard

    Is this really appropriate, considering they’re paying you to advertise them? I understand you guys are for profit but maybe try to stick to being an independent voice and not write articles about your clients.

  • David Watts Barton

    Yvette, I’m not entirely sure if you’re responding to my article, or to Jonathan’s comment. I’ll address the former first.
    I’m not sure that de Vere’s Irish Pub IS an advertiser with us. Have you seen an ad? I haven’t. In any case, if they ARE an advertiser, I wasn’t aware of it.
    I would argue that it doesn’t matter. Once we start having advertising on the site, we will on occasion write about businesses that advertise with us. This is the norm in international journalism, unless you happen to be National Public Radio (god bless ’em).
    Newspapers and TV and radio stations, and yes, websites, all occasionally write about businesses that advertise with them. Newspapers review restaurants that advertise with them; they review movies that are advertised in their entertainment sections.
    More than that, critics, such as I’ve been much of my professional life, write about businesses that GIVE them product: CDs, concert tickets, tickets to sports events, special movie screenings just for the critic, etc. The trick is to take the freebies and STILL write what you think. This takes independence, and security in your opinion and your organization to back you up against an angry advertiser. Because while we need advertisers, if we don’t serve our readers well, we have nothing to offer advertisers.
    This is why journalists need to maintain independence, and why journalistic integrity isn’t just a concept. It must be real, and readers must know that it’s real, or they won’t come back to the site.
    In the case of de Vere’s, I wrote very transparently about WHY I was writing about them. I had seen the space, watched its progress, and suddenly, there was this amazing building there. This is NEWS, not advertising.
    Had I driven past Vic’s Ice Cream and thought, “I’m going to write a story about them being around 47 years and 2 months, and get a free cone,” THAT would have been wrong. De Vere’s? That’s news, and that’s what we cover (by the way, I got nothing free in my visit to de Vere’s).
    You may have, in fact, been responding to our intern Jonathan’s posted comment – apropos of what, I’m not even sure – and yes, that was inappropriate. And we will have a newsroom discussion about “press passes” (which, by the way, barely exist) and freebies (which do).
    I appreciate your vigilance regarding the site, and notice that you describe yourself as a “student journalist.” I’d love to talk to you about contributing some high-quality journalism (freebie-free, if you like) to the site!

  • Yvette Lessard

    I’ve definitely seen an ad, in fact, for a “Sacramento Press” deal at the top of the page once or twice. 🙂

    I was responding first to Jonathan’s comment but also to your article, while I do understand with a larger news publication they’re going to have to write about news like this, and I appreciate that you were transparent, it feels wrong, like a glowing review and advertisement for them and not actually news. The piece itself seems rather…enthusiastic about the place and almost glows writing about it. While it may very well be a very cool place, and from your comment it sounds like there was nothing at all wrong going on, having a front page article with positive comments about a restaurant on your front page while an advertisement for the same restaurant hangs just above it is the worst way to win trust and respect, especially in such a new publication. That’s all. 🙂

    I was actually interested in helping out, as I love independent media, and have not yet gotten a chance to do field reporting with a newspaper at my back. I was planning on dropping by the school meeting after classes Wednesday that was mentioned on the site earlier, and see if I could get an article written for you guys, though with my luck in that part of town I’ll go down 3 one way streets the wrong way, not be able to find parking, and be an hour and a half late. Hehe. I wonder if they’d let me take pictures of even a video?

    Feel free to contact me if you want, though I’d hardly call what I can write high quality and like I’ve said I’m new to field reporting.

    • Colleen Belcher

      There is an ad for Sarus, with a Sac Press special. But we currently do not have any advertising with de Vere’s. We pursue stories because we find them interesting, exciting and newsworthy to us, not because we want them to advertise on our site. If they end up advertising, then that is a positive after effect, but that is not our aim when we write stories about businesses, bands, restaurants, etc.

      Thanks for being committed to journalistic integrity. We’re glad to have you contributing to our site!

  • David Watts Barton

    I look forward to meeting you.

  • Yvette Lessard

    Colleen: Are you sure? I’m pretty sure I saw ‘de Vere’s’ in italic green letters. Maybe it was my imagination, if so, I apologize.

  • Yvette Lessard

    Hmm, you’re right about the special. I must have gotten that mixed up, I apologize. However, I still do remember a de Vere’s in green. Though perhaps I got that wrong too. I have a bad memory when I’m not taking notes…maybe I should take notes of everything. 😉

    • Colleen Belcher

      We offer 15 week internships for students or other interested individuals. Maybe you might be interested in applying for our next internship session? We also have journalism workshops. Either way, we hope to meet you soon and get a better idea of what you’d like to write about and assist you in any way we can.

    • Geoff Samek

      Although I am the Editor in Chief, I have access to our advertising administration and we do not currently have that account in our system, nor any ad running for that particular establishment.

      We will likely have ads for them in the future, but as our Managing Editor David Watts Barton indicated our sales and editorial departments are completely separate. However as he also mentioned, new businesses opening in our core coverage area *is* news, and we will cover it, whether we have an advertising contract with them or not.

  • Yvette Lessard

    I see, that is very odd, I apologize for the mistake.

    • Geoff Samek

      No worries, we want people keeping us honest. If it appears we are being anything less than transparent then it is good to know that our readership is willing to call us on it.

  • All I have to say is the de Vere’s pub is awesome. I’ve only been there once, but I was really impressed. I’m actually having my birthday party there this weekend.

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