In the midst of a sweltering summer with more than 20-days over 100 degrees and more on the way, the thought of an ice-cold 29-degree beer sounds pretty appealing.
And that’s just what the new general manager of 29 Degrees Sports Bar & Grill hopes to bring to downtown Modesto starting this Friday. The new bar will move into the space once occupied by Modesto’s Sports Bar & Grill on J Street next to Ralston’s Goat.
“This was never really a sports bar, it was always more of a nightclub before,” said General Manager Alex Aguilar. “We thought this downtown area could really use a sports bar.”
The downtown spot at has a colorful history. The space started out as the Royal Hotel, but then was broken down in the mid-’90s to make way for a series of other ventures. It was a pool hall called Pockets, a gym called Downtown Fitness and a then a Christian bookstore called Theopolis. In 2002 it began again as the nightclub The Blue Tattoo, which turned into Ibiza which was then was reopened in 2005 as Modesto’s Sports Bar & Grill. The latter closed about four years ago and the space has been vacant since then.
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True to its sports bar name, the bar and grill will have 40 TVs hung throughout the space including several 75-inch screens and one massive 12-foot by 9-foot screen. Aguilar said he plans to run the full NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC games and matches and also show special sporting events like the upcoming Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing showdown Saturday night.
The 6,000-square-foot space has gone through cosmetic changes including new flooring, new bartops, new wall color and new decor including larger-than-life-sized posters of major sports stars. The dining area will have a capacity of 120; Aguilar currently is not leasing the building’s upstairs or downstairs spaces. And while there will be music and live DJs, he said there will be no dancing and there is no plan to turn it into a nightclub.
The bar will be staffed by about 45 new employees, including floor manager Kaila Marinus and bar manager Ginnel Albanez.
“We don’t have anything like this right now,” Marinus said. “We’re going to have wonderful service, beautiful food and delightful drinks.”
Aguilar’s family has been in the restaurant business for 28 years and has a number of ice cream shops and Mexican restaurants in the Bay Area, Fresno and beyond. This is the Riverbank resident’s first Modesto eatery.
Besides a full bar, 29 Degrees will have a full kitchen cranking out bar favorites like burgers, pizza, ribs and tacos, as well as chicken wings in 10 different flavors from mild to “Devil’s Sweat” hot. Burgers range from your basic all-American cheeseburger ($10.99) to a mac-and-cheese burger with, well, mac-and-cheese on top ($11.99). Aguilar said the restaurant also will offer sushi rolls (from $9.99 to $13.99) and seafood boils ($10.90 a pound and up).
And, of course, he promises the beer will be cold — 29 degrees cold. The bar will serve 28 different kinds of beer including 18 on tap.
“We want to have the coldest beer people can find anywhere,” he said.
29 Degress Sports Bar & Grill at 917 J St. It will be open noon-midnight Mondays to Thursdays, noon-2 a.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m. to midnight Sundays. For more information visit www.facebook.com/29degreessportsbar.