The Rhino is back.
The owner of the one-time downtown Modesto hot spot the Copper Rhino has opened up a new bar in north Modesto that pays homage to the original. CR2 Bar & Billiards opened earlier this month at the corner of Oakdale Road and Sylvan Avenue. The CR stands for “Copper Rhino,” and the same mounted metal rhino head that oversaw the 10th Street nightclub hangs over the new doors.
General manager and soon-to-be owner Les Knoll took over the space from the former Shadow Lounge. The short-lived bar in northeast Modesto opened in the fall of 2016 but was marred by a fatal stabbing last November that also injured two other men. Knoll is in the process of buying the bar and has already made changes to the exterior and interior already. He also hopes the new concept will bring in a new clientele, or more precisely an old returning clientele.
“In some ways it may not be similar, but I am really going after the same (Copper Rhino) crowd — just older,” Knoll said. “We are trying to make it very relaxed, very casual. We wanted a really good neighborhood bar, but also a good date night bar. Someplace you could go and there are things to do.”
And things to do are indeed available inside. CR2 has four pool tables, air hockey, ping pong, foosball, pinball machines, arcade games and more. The bar even has two interactive dartboards where patrons can test their aim against players around the world. In short, Knoll promises it’s not just a sit around and drink beer kind of place. But, if that’s your thing, the bar does have 16 beers on tap.
“Every time my fiancée and I would go out we would always run into people who would say, ‘Man, we really miss the Copper Rhino. We wish there was someplace fun to go again.”
Knoll opened the Copper Rhino in 2004 and it was part of a burgeoning bar and restaurant scene at the time. The bar, which started out as a place to socialize and play pool and shuffleboard, became more of a nightclub toward the end of its run. In 2012 it closed down for good in 2012.
In the meantime Knoll has owned the Log Cabin bar on West Main Street outside of Turlock for the past four years and the O’Ryleighs Bar & Grill on Canal Street in Merced for the past 10 years.
CR2 will have an entertainment lineup of live bands, DJ music, karaoke as well as theme nights. Another touch from the old Copper Rhino is the fish tank, which is also back but this time with billiard balls as underwater decor. The bar has a capacity of 269 as well as a new outdoor patio.
CR2 Bar & Billiards is at 3460 Oakdale Road. It is open from 2 p.m. daily until midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. For more information call 209-534-1776.