A giant hi-fi stereo appears to have taken over the corner of 15th and S streets, where the Monte Carlo Club once stood. B-Side, a new audiophile-themed bar from the team behind Shady Lady Saloon, is expected to open next week with a mix of 1970s stylings and no-frills drinks.
The Monte Carlo Club, which opened in 1937, has been gutted and refurbished with some of the most inventive bar design seen in Sacramento. B-Side takes a 3-D approach to its outdoor signage with an homage to a vintage Marantz stereo amplifier – knobs and all. The building’s facade also includes two large photos of well-worn album spines, snapped from the record collection of John “DJ Crook” Molina. The design was created by Sacramento artists Shaun Burner and Daniel Osterhoff.
The ’70s vibe extends to B-Side’s interior, which features decades-old stereo equipment as decor and a DJ station dedicated exclusively to vinyl records.
The 44-capacity bar is something of a flip side to Shady Lady Saloon, located a block away at 14th and R streets.
While Shady Lady is known for its extensive craft cocktails list and its early-20th-century bordello vibe, the owners of B-Side – Garrett Van Vleck, Jason Boggs and Alex Origoni – have designed their new venture to feel more like a neighborhood watering hole. B-Side won’t have a cocktail menu, serve food or showcase live music. It’s a place where you knock back a beer and a bourbon as vinyl spins on a pair of Technics 1200 turntables.
“We just wanted a dark, comfortable dive bar,” Van Vleck said. “It’s going to be a really simple bar program. Early on, we hit on the idea of doing a vinyl-record-themed bar and this nod to ’70s decor went along with that.”
B-Side has been more than two years in the making. The building was purchased in 2013 by Bret Bair, co-owner of R Street’s Ace of Spades music club, and the Shady Lady team signed on as the bar’s operator in late 2014. The revamp includes a new bar, vintage JBL stereo speakers for the sound system and plenty of wood paneling.
The owners expect to open two more businesses in the upcoming months. A new take on West Sacramento’s Sail Inn is planned to premiere in January, and their Amaro Italian Bistro & Bar is slated to open by March. Construction challenges at Amaro’s three-story historic building at 1100 R St. have pushed back its projected opening date for more than a year.
When it opens, B-Side will feature a rotation of well-known local DJs spinning vinyl, including Shaun Slaughter, DJ Epik and DJ Crook. DJs will work the turntables Wednesdays through Sundays; guest DJ sets are planned during some happy hours. Since B-Side isn’t a dance club, the DJs are being encouraged to play deep cuts – those b-sides from their 45-rpm records – that otherwise wouldn’t make it into the mix.
“We have a lot of friends who are DJs, or own record stores or have great record collections,” Boggs said. “What Shady Lady is to the jazz community, we want (B-Side) to do for the DJ community here.”