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.