Sam Levy from Fern Bar
Sam Levy from Fern Bar, a new locale in Sebastopol, is our first guest today. Ron Lindenbusch from Lagunitas is also in the studio today. This is Fern Bar’s third week of operation. Sam Levy is one of the partners there. He used to be bartender at the three-star restaurant Meadowood.
Steve says it’s about time to bring back the fern bar. They were popular starting in the late 1960s in San Francisco. Sam Levy tells about how fern bars may have become a bit kitschy but they are ready for a comeback because of their strengths. Among many attractions, they have live music, but casually, not as a full-scale music venue. A young listener called to issue a “geek alert” to ask Steve what is a Fern Bar. Sam tells about how they were a popular style beginning in the late ’60s. Henry Africa’s was the first big one, and TGI Fridays is in the style too. Herlinda says its cozy, with couches and chairs and a jazz trio.
Sam mixes a cocktail in the studio, a Tequila cocktail he calls a Guerra, made with tequila blanca, grapefruit juice, lime juice, elder flower liqueur, Aperol and Thai pepper shrub. The next drink is called Chaiwalla, a chai-infused blend of rums, which includes burning sage. He wants his cocktails to be refreshing and not produce a hangover from too much sugar.
They have a Type 75 license because they will start brewing their own beer. Their seven-barrel tank system will produce three different beers. His partner Victoria who was wine director at Meadowood. She has put the wine selection together with a lot of the popular local varieties and also some more exotic unfamiliar wines. Sam makes a lot of non-alcoholic cocktails as well. He thinks it’s important to have strong flavor combinations because other cocktails can rely on the booze for flavor, but not if there is no alcohol in the mix.
The new Hopland Tap House
Ron Lindenbusch is in to talk about his new Hopland Tap House, on the grounds of the old Hopland Brewery. Reading from the Ukiah Daily Journal, “When Ron Lindenbusch was tavern manager at the former Hopland Brewery, the famous brew pub on the 101 that featured one of California’s original micro brews, the infamous Red Tail Ale…” It was a time that Ron always remembers was packed with fun.
The new Hopland Tap House is now open. Ron moved to California in 1984 he was “fresh out of Missouri” and tasted the beer. He visited a little brewery in Hopland and had a “transcending mind-blowing moment.” It’s the opposite of the classy look of a fern bar. Ron says it’s a wonderful feeling to be back in that building. He worked for Tony Magee at Lagunitas for 23 years. When he drove by and saw it had a “for lease” sign out front, he had to stop to make a call. They’re going to grow hops and have music from local bands. It is open now even as they are still working on the kitchen. Don Barkley was the original brew master at Mendocino making Red Tail Ale and now he is making it again at Napa Smith. Everyone is really pleased that all these great brews are coming back.