After 5 is an extension of the Five Ten Bistro in downtown Merced where guests can enjoy a cocktail and the same full menu from the restaurant that is just a few steps away. With a dazzling smile Bartender G’ne Minnear is ready to serve up craft beers, a variety of wines or specialty cocktails.
She began her career at Five Ten as a server more than five years ago and worked her way up to a bartender after a quick six months. Owners Mark Purnell and Roberto Matsuo took a chance on her and taught her the skills to be a bartender.
“I have been learning ever since,” added Minnear about bartending at After 5. “I got lucky. I really enjoy my job and serving my regulars and seeing new customers. It is just something different every time. It is exciting; it is a variety, it keeps you on your toes for sure.”
Five Ten Bistro has been around for about six years and combined Purnell and Matsuo have over 20 years in the restaurant business. The Bistro and lounge are connected so guests can spend some time in the lounge and then make their way to the restaurant or vice versa. The American Bistro is a fast, casual, fine dining experience where Purnell expressed that everyone is welcome. Whether you are in shorts or a suit, there is a place for you.
Happy Hour is hosted Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. with $3 off appetizers, $2 off all beers, all house wines are $4, and well drinks are $3.
“Our appetizers are not like anyone else in Merced,” said Minnear. “Our food is fresh. They do everything from scratch.”
There are 14 different craft beers on tap that get switched out on a regular basis due to the array of craft beers that are available locally and otherwise, along with a variety of domestics and imports.
Two handles that may catch your eye are the Jameson tap and the Patron tap that are chilled and ready to order that are yes, exactly that; Jameson Whiskey and tequila that are bar favorites.
“For the longest time they wanted it (Patron and Jameson) chilled,” explained Minnear. “Those were the two things. So Mark and Rob decided it would be smarter when they order eight shots that you don’t have to chill them, you just pour it out of the tap and that’s it. People are like ‘Jameson beer?’ and I am like ‘no.’ Then they want to try it.”
They offer a rotating wine list that are top rated wines by the glass and the bottle in their wine bar or lounge.
“We enjoy changing things up a little bit,” added Purnell. “We are never stagnant.”
The cocktail menu will change on occasion; however, the guest favorites are always available like the Berry Crush, the Old Fashioned, Cucumber Martini and the Aeperol Spritzer.
During the warmer days a refreshing Berry Crush that is well balanced in sweetness with freshly muddled berries, raspberry vodka, some ice, with a juicy lime wedge just may do the trick The Cucumber Martini is simple yet tasty with cucumber flavored vodka served with a fresh cucumber slice and goes down with ease.
“Summertime is the time to come out and enjoy yourself when the weather has cooled down at nighttime and it just gives people something to do,” stated Purnell.
A classic cocktail that one may enjoy at After 5 is Jim’s Old Fashioned that is served up with bourbon, muddled filthy cherries, bitters, and an orange slice giving it that smooth finish.
For those that may want something a little lighter they may enjoy the Aeperol Spritzer served with La Marca Prosecco that has just enough bubbles to stimulate your palate.
Although there are many drinks out there, even some with the same ingredients but different names, Minnear is certain that they have it, can get it or already serve it.
“I feel like our bar is probably one of the nicer places,” expressed Minnear. “We have great workers and great customer service. Everybody makes sure that the customers are happy. We are a good place overall with great food, great drinks, a variety of beer, a variety of appetizers, and desserts; it’s all around great.”
IF YOU GO
AFTER 5 BAR & LOUNGE
510 W Main St. Merced, CA 95340
Contact: 209 381-0280
Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.