Townhouse Lounge foreclosed, sold at auction

Last week Townhouse Lounge owner Desmond “Desi” Reynoso said he would have to close his business because the landlord was raising the rent –– but county records appear to tell a different, or at least more complex story.

Until recently, Reynoso – who said he goes by Desi David – was his own landlord. Sacramento County Assessor’s Office records records show he was one of the owners who took control of the property on July 17, 2003, but the building housing the business was foreclosed on and sold at auction this month.

Records show that Shirley Johnson purchased the property on the morning of Oct. 16 for $574,789.33. The Sacramento Press was unable to contact her.

When contacted by The Sacramento Press on that same day, Oct. 16, Reynoso said that the business would shut down around the end of the year, citing a raising in rents from the landlord.

We attempted to contact Reynoso to ask about the foreclosure and see if perhaps it was the new landlord that raised the rent, but repeated calls went unanswered, and messages were not returned.

Employees working at Townhouse Lounge Friday night declined to comment.

Townhouse Lounge is a dance club and bar located at 1517 21st St. It has gone through periods of opening and closing in years past.

The bar’s distinctive architecture and bright yellow sign divided reader opinion when we published our first piece on the pending closure. Sacramento Press user “ryuns” was not a fan.

“But seriously, this building is hideous,” he said. “I’m sure there’s a charm to the Soviet architecture and gawdy lettering (that weep streaks of dirt and mildew down the facade), but it’s lost on me.”

Another reader, “Jane,” thought the building was worth saving.

“They should have shut their doors to renovate and rejuvenate the architecture,” she wrote.”It’s a really fascinating building that could be used for some really incredible events.”

Since 2004, the club has played host to some of the largest hipster shows and club nights in Midtown, with DJs Shaun Slaughter, Roger Carpio and many others contributing to its success. Patrons complained of dirty facilities and broken restrooms, but crowds filled the venue nonetheless. This Friday will be Slaughter’s last spin at the club, ending an almost decade-long run with a costumed Halloween party.

Reactions to the announced closing of Townhouse Lounge

Storified by Jared Goyette · Tue, Oct 23 2012 09:27:09

DJ Slaughter wrote a tribute to Townhouse on the Facebook page for the Rough House Records Club:
As it has, the last 2 times it’s closed, Townhouse being non existent in a sea of venues in Sacramento, will create a huge void….Most of the folks who’ve ever been there, complained about the bathrooms, complained about the bar or anything else will realize that even though despite it’s flaws, it was an AMAZING place to cut loose and somehow created this very weird, no holds barred vibe no other venue could duplicate. <br> This closing is very different. It will most definitely stay closed probably not returning as the place it was. I’m sure there’s A LOT of folks who’ll be happy to hear something rad and different is happening to the place and while i’m sort of on board with that too I also can’t help feeling like we’re losing one of the last divey, dirty and fun to party in, spots in Sacramento. <br> <br> Jon Droll and I walked in when it was a dive, gay bar who’s biggest night was drag queen karaoke, built it as a dance venue and so many others (Dan, Roger, Jay Ira, Arnold, Adam, the bartenders, honestly too many to name) have taken it further.<br> <br> Anyway, I have NO idea where I was going with this other than what i’ve repeated a million times in my posts…..Come out and celebrate a VERY long run of amazing times, with amazing friends and say bye to THE most infamous places Sacramento has ever seen. <br> <br> We are doing (what looks to be) only TWO more Fridays at Toho. This friday and our big, annual, HALLOWEEN PARTY on Friday the 26th.<br> <br> – SHAUN
Fans shared their stories about the venue and their feelings about its pending, and possibly permanent closure. 
I’m going to miss townhouse so much!Autumn Hardy
only now have i realized just how much ive taken the townho forgranted. in the sea of dying dinosaurs sacramento has to offer, this one is truly an affair to remember. oh townho, where will i aquire my holiday decorations now?Jenifer Evert
Sylvia Vu so many great memories at this place; eating lasers, taking bras off and hiding them in the kitchen, live music, DJs, Shark Dancing in the fan, miss you and going to miss this place :(Ell Arr
A few have been discussing ways to save it: 
So we need to do something about <a href="" class="">The Townhouse Lounge</a>. This place has been my home for music the past few years…I don’t want it to go. Ideas?
Buy it?Chris Rouge
Save the townhouse party! FundraiserMargaret Flanigan

  • Jackson Griffith

    Um, “distinctive ’70s-era architecture”? That façade looks more 1940s to my eyes; the Town House’s sign would have been garish and out of place in the 1970s, when neon and other types of bright signs most often were replaced by dull earth tones, macramé and Boston ferns.

    That said, I hope that place can be preserved in a cleaned-up version of what it is today. This town’s central grid has lost way too many choice old lounges and bars.

    • Brandon Darnell

      Thank you for your comment. Records show the building was built in 1910, and the incorrect information has been removed.

    • Jared Goyette

      @Jackson – That was my mistake, not Brandon’s. Can we contact you for a quote on the building/architecture?

    • William Burg

      I’m pretty sure the architecture is from the mid-1950s–cinderblock walls and the simplified Moderne front with neon sign has a very mid-century air. Definitely not from 1910 unless there has been some very serious rebuilding! My 1952 city directory shows that address had a shoe repair and watch repair shop, with an apartment upstairs–that doesn’t sound like the current building at all. But my 1960 telephone directory lists a “Town House Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge.” It would be nice to see the place reopen with a functioning kitchen–it’s a great little venue and the two floors add flexibility, and the kitchen in back gives them the option of providing a daytime lunch or evening dinner option, instead of just opening at 9 PM for nightclub events.

      Lots of good memories at the Townhouse–live bands, DJ nights, even a memorial service for a fallen friend. I have a feeling we’ll see it open again before too long, though. Hopefully the new owner will fix the neon sign!

  • Mark

    Ha. slam. I commented earlier about the rent-raising landlord because I knew it was he and I didn’t want to give my opinion of him based on my limited interaction with him. Seriously though I’ve had some fun times at the Townhouse. Hopefully the new property owners will invest in some paint- please gawd no more Sacramento Beige! It’s always been a entertainment venue (bar and dance hall, then an older-gentleman’s gay bar, then a hipster nightclub) so hopefully it will remain one.

  • The reason for it closing is simple… the OWNER err previous owner…. he was shady at best and screwed alot of people over including ME… His own employees even said “we only make tips” and several bands/dj’s have said that he stiffed them on payment too… You get out of something what you put into it… while I am sad for the people that did enjoy ToHo and especially Shaun as I respect him as a dj, in the long run Desi was his own demise… for crap sake he can’t even be honest as to why the foreclosure happened to begin with… Hopefully the new owner will revamp and improve on the building without taking away the few things that people had grown to love about it…

    • Gavin Varitech

      How about how he acquired it in the first place?

  • You should probably look a little more closely at the July 17, 2003, Oct 16, 2003 Deeds and Deeds of Trust along with the Oct 16, 2012 trustee sale records. You forgot to mention that the previous owner “Frank Torres Family Rev trust” has also been listed as a Grantee along with Shirley Johnson Trust.

    I’d suggest a trip down to the Recorders office would help your research, considerably. Especially since the cross ref Deed of Trust that was foreclosed upon was the Oct, 16, 2003 one…..not the July 17, 2003 one.

  • This always seemed like a long-neglected building with so much potential. It also seemed closed a lot more than it was open at night….and, good grief, it really was a crumbling dive. Of course, one can still have fun in a sketchy spot, as long as you don’t fall through the floor while sitting on the can. (LOL). I can’t figure out why the City couldn’t have thrown some Redevelopment funds at the place….they certianly had bucks to throw around at other pet projects!!

  • R.V. Scheide

    I wonder who bought the building at auction.

  • Oh my gosh, a bar in Midtown is closing. That leaves only 483 other bars to choose from.

    The signage is cool, though, even if the building itself is a bit of a dump.

  • Business logistics aside, Townhouse was awesome and will be deeply missed by myself along with many others. One of the last places you could go and be yourself with no worries of being judged. RIP TOWNHOUSE!

    • Gavin Varitech

      Agreed! There is a lot to love about that place, more the parties/people than the physical venue though. I had so many great nights there I can’t even begin to count!

  • I knew Frank Torres in the 80’s when he ran the Town House. I remember taking to him about his desire to sell the place and retire. I’ve always thought the place had great bones and could be nicely fixed up especially if you could break out the south wall and let some light in.

    • William Burg

      There are advantages to having a very solid, windowless box–it really facilitates having a live music/DJ venue close to residences. Those cinderblock walls soak up sound, and having the really loud stuff (live bands) upstairs means less sound travels outside the building when doors open. A band can be going full-tilt inside and it’s kind of hard to tell even from the parking lot alongside the building. Soundproofing is really important in that respect–so much that the city of Austin actually provides public funds to soundproof live music venues.

    • lmw

      I remember it from the late 80’s as well. Sharing those ‘fishbowl’ long island iced teas. Four of us would share one and be very buzzed. Then we’d dance!


    10/23/2012 ~ Everything must change and we must learn to adapt, change with the times. I remember long ago when my Uncle Frank Torres owned the Town House, back in the day. We use to have little family get togethers there. Later my Cousin Ron Torres was the Bartender there.

    I guess it became a hang out for the local Gay community. I never go there anymore. Nevertheless, it is a Sacramento landmark. I figure someone else will come along and keep it going.

    Peter S. López AKA @Peta_de_Aztlan ~ Sacramento, California, Aztlan c/s

  • Damn hipsters. They ruin everything.

  • Gretchen Steinberg

    Bill is correct about the mid-20th century modern frontage (it’s a remodel from 1957) and the illuminated lettering (1958 by Pacific Neon Co.). From that point it was the “Town House Restaurant of Sacramento” and specialized in steaks and seafood.

  • Whatever happened to Press Club’s 80’s nights? When did that place turn to top 40 douche central?
    I heard that it was because the dj that did the 80’s music killed himself? I hope it was that same dude that would sometimes refuse to play Journey’s “Dont Stop Believing” and the end of the night…dick, everybody loves that song..

  • The Townhouse was a great place when my grandfather, Frank Torres Sr., owned and ran the restaurant. I have wonderful memories of the Townhouse as a child and young adult. Now that Desi no longer owns it hopefully someone with more vision and business success will buy it and turn it into something great again. With some work, I think it could still be a great venue for live music and dancing *and* look a lot better.

  • not everyone loves journey’s don’t stop believing

  • Maybe those bartenders who said they only made tips should contact the US Dept of Labor. Looks like that is not legal.


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