Business & Real Estate

Sacramento sports bar Joe Marty’s set to come back swinging

Dee Nurge, an assistant manager at Joe Marty’s, is shown at the sports bar on Broadway in 1995. The business, shuttered after a fire a decade ago, is set to reopen this fall with a more family-friendly approach.
Dee Nurge, an assistant manager at Joe Marty’s, is shown at the sports bar on Broadway in 1995. The business, shuttered after a fire a decade ago, is set to reopen this fall with a more family-friendly approach. Sacramento Bee file

Joe Marty’s, the landmark Sacramento sports bar on Broadway that was shuttered after a fire a decade ago, is reopening this fall.

Investors said Monday they plan to bring back the Land Park-area business, retaining the Joe Marty’s name along with the baseball theme that made the original bar a mini-museum as well as a neighborhood watering hole.

“This is all about (celebrating) the history of baseball in Sacramento,” said Jack Morris, one of the principals in the group that’s been working for more than three years to secure a lease for the site and restart a business founded 77 years ago. The building and adjacent Tower Theatre are owned by the Blumenfeld family in San Francisco.

The aim of the Joe Marty’s partners is to establish a bar and bistro that’s considerably more family friendly than the original business, said Devon Atlee, a local commercial real estate executive and another principal in the investment group.

“We want a local sports bar and bistro that the family can feel comfortable coming into,” he said, adding that Joe Marty’s at the time of the fire was more of a “dive bar.”

The operator of the business has not yet been identified and menus are still being finalized. But Atlee said the new Joe Marty’s is likely to feature casual fare: “hot dogs, pizza, panini and salads.”

The original business was opened on J Street in 1938 by Joe Marty, a Sacramento native who played major league baseball with the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies from 1937 to 1941 and later was a player and manager with the Sacramento Solons Triple-A team.

In 1954, he moved the business to Broadway, in the Tower Theatre complex – just a few blocks from Riverside and Broadway, where the Solons’ stadium, Edmonds Field, was then located.

Marty died in 1984, but the business continued to be a popular drinking spot until June 25, 2005, when a fire that started in the bar’s kitchen badly damaged the space and caused a temporary closure of some adjacent businesses, including the Tower Theatre.

Subsequent efforts to reopen the business failed.

“Everybody thought it was a shame that it stayed closed,” said Atlee. “I’m a baseball guy, I grew up playing ball and this is something I’ve wanted to see since (Joe Marty’s) burned down,” he said.

Much of the memorabilia in the original location was lost or badly damaged in the fire. But Morris said he doesn’t anticipate having any trouble finding pictures, bats and other baseball mementos to decorate the new place.

“There are a lot of people who have old photos,” he said. “We already have had people come and say, ‘I have stuff you can use.’”

Call The Bee’s Bob Shallit, (916) 321-1017.

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