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Revitalizing the daily ‘night life’ in Modesto

There are a couple poignant venues that have kicked it up a notch in Modesto with good food, live music, DJs, Happy Hour, and a Sunday Blitz brunch to go along with football season.

The Boardroom is a bar, lounge, and restaurant at 1528 J St., and has been rejuvenating the night life in downtown Modesto for over two years. Not only can you count on a place to dance but you can grab a bite to eat at the Boardroom as well.

The classic Hollywood-themed lounge has a spot for people to dine, socialize at the bar, or hit the dance floor to get your groove on. This venue is 21 years old and older.

“I wanted to have a place that was different,” said owner Roman Wagner. “I wanted to go somewhere I would feel comfortable where there were people I could relate to like the young professionals, not stuffy, but a finely crafted cocktail lounge.”

The menu has been revamped and has new items created by executive chef Juan Tostado like the buffalo chicken wrap with blue cheese, grilled chicken, tomatoes, bacon, ranch, and buffalo sauce or a spicy BBQ chicken salad or the Shrimp Louie salad may be the food choice at the Boardroom.

Offering entertainment throughout the week, the Boardroom has filled the nights with live music on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, a DJ on Friday and Saturday and on Sundays a Blitz Brunch.
“We are looking to have more of a live scene here on Friday and Saturday nights because downtown just kind of died out lately so we are just kind of trying to change with the times and revive it and give people what they want and they want to dance,” said general manager Clint Shaw. “They want a place they can come to dance so we are going to do a little remodel in here, basically make (the dance area) bigger.”

Happy Hour is available Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and late night on Thursdays only from 9 p.m. until close.

“We have a great happy hour,” added Shaw. “We have new menus for our happy hour and restaurant.”

The bartenders at the Boardroom, including Rachael Epps, serve up a variety of specialty cocktails like Mi Casa Su Casa that includes freshly muddled cilantro, red pepper flakes or the Strawberry Monroe that includes muddled strawberries and basil.

“Those are two of the most popular (drinks),” stated Shaw. “We try to come up with a different specialty cocktail every day and post it to our Facebook and Instagram.”

They also have 16 beers on tap that are changed out from time to time and a few others in the bottle.

Football season started in September and so did Sunday Blitz Brunch at the Boardroom. They offer a breakfast and lunch menu, a Bloody Mary bar, mimosa carafes, beer specials and football, of course, with the Sunday Ticket.

There are also themed events at the Boardroom like the second annual White Party that was thrown at the end of summer before Labor Day. Guests that attended the party dressed in all white attire.

“It is just a fun event,” stated Shaw. “It gives something for people to do in town and it was a great success.”

Another themed party at the Boardroom was the Yacht Party where guests wore gear that would be worn on a boat and the Breast Cancer awareness party where everyone will wear pink to support breast cancer research and awareness in October along with a Halloween party at the end of the month.

“We are really trying to give people a reason to come back to downtown Modesto,” expressed Shaw. “We want to be part of the revival of downtown so don’t give up on us yet.

“We are working on it with more events, a better happy hour, better entertainment and we will keep doing what we are doing.”

If the Boardroom's cocktail lounge atmosphere isn't what you're looking for, head down Oakdale Road to Rivets American Grill.

Rivets has more of a family restaurant atmosphere where the concept is all about Americana. From the Statue of Liberty painted on the wall in the entryway to the “We the People” mural and the American flag on a brick wall in the entertainment area in back, patriotism is on full display at this bar and grill.

Rivets is at 2307 Oakdale Rd. in Modesto and has been entertaining people in the Central Valley for a little over a year.

Known for being a whiskey bar and having a vast variety of American whiskey, Rivets also has 24 beers on tap to wet your whistle that rotate out so they constantly serve different seasonal craft beers.

The craft beer that is offered is mainly from the breweries in the United States and several come from California.

“They used rivets to put the bridges together, put the skyscrapers together when they built America, even railroad tracks, everything, so that is kind of how we got the name,” said Shaw.
They also want to appeal to traditional American tastes.

“We have American cuisine,” he said. “We have some other stuff to appease everybody, but it is really strongly based on American cuisine like hamburgers, steaks, mashed potatoes, and fresh vegetables.”

Guest favorite the Rivets Burger has cheddar cheese, smoked bacon, a fried farm egg, and hollandaise sauce. Sandwiches are also on the Rivets menu and a popular choice is the Drunken Turkey with thinly sliced turkey breast, jack cheese, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, bacon and a side of au jus, served on a grilled French roll.

The American Whiskey and Bourbon bar offers a variety and among the guest favorites is their take on the Moscow Mule called the Kentucky Mule, which has Bulleit 95 Rye, a house specialty.
Rivets also offers a variety of entertainment where people can play shuffleboard, darts, or dance to some live music or a DJ as well as belt out some tunes with karaoke on Monday nights from 9 p.m. to midnight.

Vocal talents like Johnny and Kelly will entertain guests on Tuesday, the Jive Turkeys with their keyboard, bass, and drums on Wednesday, or visiting bands throughout the rest of the week.

“It is just great on that side of town where there really is nothing like it, offering that kind of entertainment five nights a week, karaoke one night a week, with a full bar and great food,” stated Shaw. “I think that is why we are busy over there all the time because that side of town was lacking and Roman came in and saw the location and he did it right.”

The atmosphere at Rivets is a casual, comfortable environment with something for everyone and a variety of entertainment for all to enjoy.

“We are throwing a party every day,” stated Wagner. “Besides the food, we focus on the social aspect of all the places so if you are into live music, we have a great variety.

“We are invested and try really hard to please the customers and give them a healthy meal and more bang for their buck.”

Tune in to Facebook and Instagram for promotions, events and additional information on the Boardroom and Rivets.