Biz Beat

Bottle service and late-night eats await at east Modesto’s newest restaurant and bar

After a night at the club, Modesto dining options have typically been limited to a run to the border, so to speak.

But a new restaurant and nightclub is bringing a full kitchen menu and big city amenities to east Modesto. Mystique Ultra Lounge has opened at the corner of Coffee Road and Orangeburg Avenue in the old Tasty Thai space.

Business partners Gia Smith and David Lawson said they wanted to bring the lounge to what they consider an under served part of the city. While downtown Modesto has most of its bars and nightclubs, east Modesto has fewer late-night options — particularly late-night options with a full menu.

“We felt Modesto needed a place where people can come enjoy sports, have a drink, eat different kinds of foods and listen to DJs and live music,” Smith said. “Just a great place for nightlife that is close to home, to bring that New York, Oakland, Sacramento vibe.”

The vibe is very important to Smith and Lawson, and the spot’s de facto motto is stitched onto a pillow that sits on a couch in the lounge. It reads, “Good Vibes Only.”

Owners David Lawson and Gia Smith are pictured on Thursday September 19, 2019 at Mystique Ultra Lounge, a restaurant and bar in Modesto, Calif. The club serves a full kitchen menu until midnight. Joan Barnett Lee

They didn’t have to do to much to transform the former Thai food restaurant, which closed in early 2018, to a full-service club and restaurant. A long bar was built along one wall, and some new equipment was moved into the existing kitchen. The lounge’s logo, a nighttime cityscape, was painted on the back wall by Modesto artist Nicolle Landre and several TVs dot the walls.

Smith and Lawson both come with restaurant experience. Smith was a partner in Ceres’ Fired Up Grill & Meal Prep, but has since parted ways with the restaurant. Oakland native Lawson spent more than a decade in Oklahoma working in restaurants there.

Their Mystique Ultra Lounge is open daily for lunch, dinner and late-night dining. The menu offers popular bar fare like burgers and chicken wings with some less typical options like Cobb salad and soul-food favorite chicken and waffles (ranging in price from $10 to $15). You’ll also find tri-tip and beef brisket sandwiches, tacos and wraps.

Chicken and waffles are pictured Thursday September 19, 2019 at Mystique Ultra Lounge, a restaurant and bar in Modesto, Calif. The club serves a full kitchen menu until midnight. Joan Barnett Lee

Most days also have either a food or beverage special, ranging from a Soul Food Sundays (a brunch buffet) to Taco Tuesdays ($1 tacos and drink discounts) and Wind Down Wednesdays ($4 house wines). The full menu is served until midnight daily, with appetizers being offered until 1 a.m. On Sundays during football season it opens at 10 a.m. to show NFL games.

At the bar, Lawson said house specials include the “French Inhale” (cucumber vodka, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and basil) and bottle service. The latter gives guests their own VIP lounge area and bottle of liquor of their choice starting at around $100.

“We want to bring that Bay Area feel with bottle service,” Lawson said. “People really like the service and we can get people anything they want if they call to reserve.”

Mystique also has a DJ booth (complete with its own light show). Expect a live band or DJ every Friday and Saturday night. They also plan to launch a karaoke night, though the exact date hasn’t been decided yet.

Exterior of Mystique Ultra Lounge Thursday September 19, 2019 a restaurant and bar in Modesto, Calif. The club serves a full kitchen menu until midnight. Joan Barnett Lee

The lounge is still in its soft open phase, so be patient as they work out any kinks. A grand opening celebration will be held in October. To start Smith said they have about 15 employees, including her daughter Kenya Riley who serves as a manager.

“We want people to have good food and a good time,” Smith said.

Mystique Ultra Lounge, at 1401 Coffee Road Suite D, is open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. For more information call 209-567-2855 or visit or

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Marijke Rowland writes about new business, restaurant and retail developments. She has been with The Modesto Bee since 1997 covering a variety of topics including arts and entertainment. Her Business Beat column runs midweek and Sundays. And it’s pronounced Mar-eye-ke.
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