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Davis, California

Thursday, October 28, 2021

New venues and old favorites change up the Davis nightlife

Davis nightlife has a mix of new and familiar places for the after hours crowd. While well-known bars like Sudwerk and Little Prague continue their popular karaoke nights and dollar drink specials, recently opened venues infuse new energy into the city’s nightlife.

Mermaid’s Seafood and Grill, a casual dining restaurant, opened in south Davis in April 2010. On Friday and Saturday nights it turns into Mermaid Acoustic Lounge, featuring live music.

“We’re kind of an oasis in south Davis,” said owner Sam Chimera. “It’s a very cool, very casual place. It’s got a sexier Joe’s Crab Shack kind of concept.”

Like some bars in Davis, Mermaid’s hosts Midweek Mayhem Trivia on Wednesday nights, and Karaoke and Ladies Night on Thursdays. It also has music entertainment on Friday and Saturday lounge nights, highlighting local and cover bands, as well as DJs.

The decor is also entertainment in itself, with colorful mermaid-themed artwork lining the walls.

“It looks like a Vegas lounge,” Chimera said. Mermaid’s designers also designed in Las Vegas. This includes venues like the Lavo Lounge at the Palazzo Hotel Casino and the Ghost Bar at the Palms.

Another newcomer to the bar scene is Tres Hermanas, a Mexican restaurant that opened in September. Located on Second Street, where Pasta? used to be, Tres Hermanas offers a full service bar.

“We’re just trying to get started, so right now we don’t have a nightclub,” said Sergio Saenz, general manager. “But maybe in the future, we will.”

Open until midnight on weekends, Tres Hermanas offers a large tequila selection and margaritas made from fresh fruits and ingredients.

“It’s a cool place to go if you just want to talk, and if you’re not into dancing,” Saenz said. “It’s a place to just chill with friends.”

Tres Hermanas fills the void of a tequila bar since Agave, a restaurant and tequila bar on E Street, changed back to Soga’s. Although under the same ownership, the bar officially reopened as Soga’s on Oct. 19.

“Definitely, our night life is more geared toward catering to the students,” said owner Aamit Chowdhury. “The pricing for the menu and the drinks have come down.”

The bar also provides food service, with a mix of American and Italian finger foods.  Many of the Mexican options from the Agave menu are also still available at Soga’s. Where Agave’s bar emphasized tequila drinks, Soga’s is dedicated to more casual signature drinks during its lounge hours Thursday to Saturday.

“It’s a different atmosphere from the other bars around here,” Chowdhury said. “It’s a little bit more upscale, but the pricing is just as competitive.”

While new bars are making their mark on Davis nightlife, more established venues are updating their services to keep up with the changing landscape.

Downtown Thai restaurant KetMoRee continues its bar and nightclub hours on Wednesdays through Saturdays. It offers promo drink specials, such as $3 well drinks and $1 jello shots on Fridays and Saturdays. KetMoRee also installed new lighting behind the bar and lasers and lights on the dance floor.  A new fog machine is used to enhance the nightclub experience.

“This isn’t your normal sit down bar,” said Sandeep Dahal, bar manager. “It’s the place that you’re going to come to if you want a club environment, where there’s drinking and dancing going on.”

A few blocks away is Burgers and Brew, which is open until 3 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. While it lacks the lights and sounds of downtown nightclubs, it does offer its full menu and dinner specials after hours.

“Burgers and Brew is mainly a restaurant,” said owner Derar Zawaydeh. “It’s for anybody that would enjoy more of a calmer environment with a great selection of beer and great food.”

The restaurant is offering new specials, such as the beer of the week, in which they feature beers that are not so easily accessible, Zawaydeh said. The beers are served in a custom glass that can be purchased separately.

Even more changes are coming to the bar scene. Uncle Vito’s, which offers a full bar from Wednesday through Saturday nights, is currently under expansion.

“We’re doubling our size in the next coming month. We’re taking over the building next to us,” said Travis Huston, general manager. “Right now it’s just a casual chill hangout, with music playing and just a little bit of dancing.”

Although the venue will be bigger, Uncle Vito’s still aims to keep its identity the same.

“It’s not a nightclub, per se, but a restaurant that turns into a bar or hangout at the end of the night,” Huston said. “It will still be a place for a casual encounter with your friends, good drinks and a great atmosphere.”

SARAHNI PECSON can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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