Sacramento bucket list
99 ways to embrace the city’s Retromento roots
Is Sacramento an endangered species?
It sure feels like it. The people and places that define this city—the businesses, shops, and restaurants that brighten up the ol’ everyday humdrum—seem to be disappearing at an increasingly hasty click. Just this past year alone, we’ve witnessed such unimaginables as the retirement of Russ Solomon, a false-alarm departure (or not) of the Kings, and the shuttering of numerous new and old spots that’d fostered a rich bond with residents: Capitol Aquarium, La Bonne Soupe Café, Wakano Ura, Le Petit Paris. And many more. (We’d list them all, but it’s just depressing.)
1. Break the rules
On any given night, the West Wind Sacramento 6 Drive-in, built in 1973, is jumping. There are hundreds of people chillaxin’ and watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster from cars or lawn chairs. And why not? It’s less than $7 for an adult to see two films, and snacks and comforts can be brought from home. Note: Alcohol is against the rules. Further note: Rules are made to be broken. Despite the popularity, there are rumors nearly every year that this year will be the drive-in’s last.
9616 Oates Drive, (916) 363-6572, www.westwindpublicmarkets.com.
2. The place time forgot
If you’ve ever been to the Pre-Flite Lounge, then you know this unpolished gem of a dive bar has always seemed like The Place Time Forgot—forever ripe for extinction. The bar, tucked away beneath the shadowy depths of the Downtown Plaza, was once a hangout for travelers waiting to take a shuttle to the airport (the mall used to host several airline-carrier-ticket windows). These days, Pre-Flite still exudes vintage charm with cheap, strong drinks, a friendly bartender and a jukebox crammed with old 45s. Please don’t go changin’.
513 L Street, (916) 441-7963, www.preflitelounge.com.
3. Save the mural
A nearly 40-year-old psychedelic mural painted by Frank Carson is a piece of fading artwork on K Street Mall that should be admired, restored, protected and preserved. Otherwise, the only thing like it that we’ll have on the block is the mural down the street inside Pizza Rock. (No comment.)
On the 700 block of K Street.
4. Sacto’s barrio
Professor and labor activist Ernesto Galarza graduated from the old Sacramento High School and lived in Sacramento’s barrio, which is the subject of his memoir. Yes, Sacramento had a barrio; the area around Southside Park still carries remnants of the Latino influence, notably at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, where church ladies sometimes sell tamales that are nothing short of legendary. For a look at what it used to be like, take Galarza’s memoir, Barrio Boy, and trace the route he describes in the chapter called “Life in the Lower Part of Town.” It’s a nice walk through Southside and, if you’re lucky enough to do it on a church bazaar day, you might be able to buy one of those tamales.
711 T Street.
5. Highball in the booth
Nobody does dive like the Dirty Bird. Somehow sleazy and cozy at the same time, the Club Raven is an East Sacramento dive bar proffering cheap drinks, a prolific jukebox and friendly vibe. The booths behind the bar are just big enough for two—what you do there is none of our business.
3246 J Street, (916) 442-9780.
6. Skate famous
Skaters call it “The B.” And not just locals; it seems that skateboarders worldwide know of the 28th and B Skate Park at Sutter’s Landing Regional Park. Another one of those Sacto subcultures that’s renowned outside of town but ignored locally. Anyway, The B is part of the city Department of Parks and Recreation, so—doy—it’s always endangered.
20 28th Street, (916) 808-1575.
7. Wasteland as art
The rail yards were Sacramento’s focal point and the source of much of its prosperity. But even after they closed, they were still important. Generations of artists—and wannabes—found the wreckage of industry there was the perfect place to practice drawing and photography skills. There’s a lot to be said for redevelopment, but where will the gradations of natural light be so readily available for artists as they are at the rail yards? Take your sketchpad or your camera down there and capture the industrial wasteland as art—before it’s gone.
Fifth and H streets downtown.
8. Wishful politics
There’s a circular hole in the second floor of the Capitol’s rotunda beneath which is the top of a statute of Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus. For years, during end-of-session late nights, legislative staffers and lobbyists killed time by lofting pennies, trying to land them in the crown.
1315 10th Street, www.ca.gov.
9. Fried steaks, table phones
Original Perry’s and Mr. Perry’s Coffee Shop are diners off Highway 99 near Elk Grove that serve good ol’ greasy-spoon food the way we like it in the US of A. Original Perry’s opened in 1968 and not much has changed since. Were there telephones on every table so the truckers could call home while shoveling down pork chops with applesauce or chicken-fried steak as late as the early ’90s? We’re going to pretend there were.
7895 Stockton Boulevard, (916) 423-1103; 7820 Alta Valley Drive, (916) 423-2140.
10. Keep yer hands off my mochi!
Sakura Gifts, Osaka Ya, and June’s Cafe are the only remaining businesses in Southside’s dwindling Japantown. First, Ouye’s Pharmacy left, taking its fascinating dirt-flavored mints with them. Then Wakano Ura shuttered; we lost kaki fry and our heart. Next Ricksha, with its Tuesday dollar hand rolls, deserted us. Please, please don’t let any others go the same way. We can’t imagine life without peanut-butter mochi from Osaka Ya.
2215 10th Street, (916) 446-6857, www.osakaya-wagashi.com.
11. Chicken or the egg?
The Pocket Club is a great bar. It has shuffleboard, giant PBRs and a bartender who may chide you if your giant PBR gets too warm. But that isn’t the wonder of the place; it’s the age of the building. The bathrooms are ancient. The whole place is an antique. Yet it’s located in a mini-mall? So, was the mini-mall built around the bar, or is it an exceedingly old mini-mall? Don’t tell us; we prefer soaking in the mystery.
5043 Freeport Boulevard, (916) 457-6416.
12. What’s a video store?
Going on 18 years, everyone marvels at Awesome Video’s staying power. It’s a video rental store! For those unacquainted: This is a place where people sign up for memberships, which allows them to select from a large number of movies—in person! Then the movie can then be taken immediately home! A video store is somewhere between Redbox and Netflix, capiche? Sure, Awesome is half the size it used to be, but Blu-ray and DVDs are half the size of VHS tapes, so now room has freed up for a new karaoke bar next door. Yay!
5000 Freeport Boulevard, (916) 731-4720.
13. What’s ‘keistered’?
Get ye to the Folsom Prison Museum if you haven’t yet. It is housed in an almost storybook area of the prison, and its delights include pictures of famous former inmates (Rick James! Danny Trejo! Not Johnny Cash!), a prison cell complete with stuffed convict dummy and a mind-bending collection of confiscated keistered items. (Nope, not going to tell you what that word means.)
312 Third Street in Represa, (916) 985-2561, www.folsomprisonmuseum.org.
14. Pole position
Most people snap group shots at the Capitol, but what’s more “Retromento” than a picture in front of the recently repainted public art known as the Fuller Paint Poles. Originally intended as a signpost for the Fuller O’Brian Paint Company, it was apparently designed by Saul Bass, who worked with Alfred Hitchcock creating title sequences on movies such as Vertigo, Psycho and North by Northwest.
Corner of 16th and Q streets.
15. Macaroni heaven
In downtown’s Southside Park neighborhood, June’s Cafe has been dishing out inimitable World War II-inspired breakfasts and lunches since the early ’80s. Go for June and her husband’s incomparable charm, come back for the best macaroni salad in town (don’t tell Grandma).
921 V Street, (916) 447-2264.
16. vintage living
The 2500 block of Q Street in the Midtown neighborhood of Winn Park, often called Bungalow Row, is the lone street in Sacramento where all original Victorians homes still stand. The oldest was built in 1889, and it was these homes that showcased Midtown as a viable place to live back in the ’70s and ’80s, when City Hall often dismissed the neighborhood.
The par 3 third hole at William Land Golf Course is the oldest in the city. And still, to this day, it remains a challenge: Bust out your nine or 8-iron, tickle the ball between two lofty trees, then settle it down on the green, which is nested between two magnetic bunkers. No, really: You’re going to end up in one of those damn bunkers. 1701 Sutterville Road, (916) 277-1207,
18. Dead museum
Pack an afternoon picnic and head for the 28-acre Old City Cemetery off Broadway, the resting place of more than 20,000 gold-rush pioneers, wind your way through beautiful gardens and memorials to Sacramento founders like John Sutter Jr. and Edwin Bryant Crocker. More museum than graveyard, many notable Sacramento residents are buried here, including John Sutter, art collector E.B. Crocker and railroad magnate Mark Hopkins Jr. Get permission first from the cemetery caretaker, then grab a few headstone rubbings to remember your visit.
1000 Broadway, www.oldcitycemetery.com.
19. Home sweet home?
Dorothea Puente was a grifter, con-artist, hustler, forger and murderer who ran a boarding home for the down and out on F Street. She forced tenants to sign over their Social Security checks and, if they complained, dosed their oatmeal with sedatives. If they did not die right away, she would smother the hapless victim with a pillow and then bury them in her yard. She kept on cashing her mark’s benefits checks. In late 1988, social workers started snooping around, and the jig was up. Police dug up eight bodies in the tidy little yard; she was convicted and recently died in prison. The house has changed hands over the years, but the new owners have a sense of humor about its notoriety: A sign posted says, “Trespassers Will Be Drugged and Buried in the Yard.”
1426 F Street.
20. The last Republican
Emma’s Taco House is a longtime fixture in West Sacramento. Everything on the menu is pretty tasty, but it’s the restaurant itself that fascinates with its photos of long-gone legislators. The Jack Schrade Room is named after the last Republican to be elected leader of the state Senate. That was 40 years ago. Schrade was a habitué of the place.
1617 Sacramento Avenue, (916) 371-1151.
21. Didion’s river
Take a drive along the Garden Highway until you find a quiet, open spot on the levee where you can face the river with farmland at your back. Now, it’s time to open your paperback copy of Run, River. That’s Joan Didion’s first book, a novel about a dysfunctional family of agricultural landowners along the Sacramento River. But there’s much more than that—there’s the failure of idealism that the West usually represents, and there’s also a sort of nostalgia (in the darkest meaning of the word) for a past that wasn’t all that great in the first place. It’s the perfect book to read on the Sacramento River just outside of town, where the levees need repair and the farmland is being taken over by development.
22. Classic crate digging
Rare Records on Broadway has a lot of history. Open for more than 30 years, it was featured on the cover of DJ Shadow’s album Endtroducing, and was included in the documentary Scratch. Say hi to artist Doug Biggert—and try to buy something, please.
1618 Broadway, (916) 446-3973, www.rare-records.net.
23. Bring a Sharpie
Hide away from the rain or shine in the four-story Fanny Ann’s Saloon in Old Sac. Grab a burger and curly fries while you marvel at the layers of ephemera nailed to every surface, or take a pitcher upstairs for foosball and video games.
1023 Second Street, (916) 441-0505, www.fannyannsaloon.com.
24. The last (non) drive-in
You can’t actually “drive in” to East Sacramento greasy spoon Cookie’s Drive-in any longer. Not sure if you ever could, actually. But the burger joint boasts ’70s signage touting as much—and getting out of your car or off your bike is still worth it for its “Home Made” with onions. Add your own ketchup and mustard, damn it.
5640 H Street, (916) 457-8353.
25. Iron potential
A few weeks ago, there was a virulent rumor that Old Ironsides was ending its run as a live-music venue. Old I denied this, but as of this writing there are few shows on the calendar, and those scheduled seem to be confined to Friday nights. The venue has been the one spot in this town that has always seemed to have it easy, hardly hassled by city council, police or neighbors. Such potential! Get it together, Old I!
1901 10th Street, (916) 443-9751, www.theoldironsides.com.
26. Velvet touch
At first glance, the Jointed Cue on Fruitridge Road at 24th Street looks like a busy, if bedraggled, pool hall full of players enjoying billiards, brew and burgers. But the discovery is in the back tournament arena, complete with bleachers and hushed tones. Shh! Sacramento Fats is about to show off his velvet touch!
2375 Fruitridge Road, (916) 456-2284.
27. Kitty lit
Why does Raffles, the resident Maine coon feline at Beers Books, always give us the stink eye? Love that cat—but she sure does act like she owns the place. After all: Who’s been at the venerable bookstore—which long ago was located at the holy street corner of 15th and L streets along with the old Capitol Garage—longer? Cat power!
915 S Street, (916) 442-9475, www.beersbooks.com.
28. Gravy train
Fried steak, fried grits, fried trout, fried snapper—Western-themed diner Stage Coach Restaurant is the very definition of down-home cooking in Sacramento. Sit in the back, soak in the most amenable old-time service in the city—and pour gravy on everything.
4365 Florin Road, (916) 422-9296.
29. Ninety-point-three FM
KDVS is 46 years old. Noncommercial public radio is an old art form, now being reinvented by podcasts and online streams. Yet 90.3 FM perseveres, both on the air and with concerts and annual festivals and more. Operation: Restore Maximum Freedom!
30. Shadier lady
Exposed brick; damask, raised velvet wallpaper; Victorian details; rich red and brown tones: Old Sacramento’s Back Door Lounge is kind of like Shady Lady Saloon aesthetically, but from the 1960s. Go see Lee Diamond sing retro classics on Fridays.
1112 Firehouse Alley, (916) 442-5751.
31. Breakfast of champions
In order to either shock you into giving up drinking or introduce you to an entirely new group of friends, one must have a draft at the Zebra Club at 6 a.m. It can be a life changer.
1900 P Street, (916) 442-3972.
An old relic from the World War II era, a raid siren still goes off on the last Friday of each month sometime before lunch. The best place to hear it is taking in brunch at Mulvaney’s Building & Loan; there’s one right in front.
1215 19th Street, (916) 441-6022, www.mulvaneysbl.com.
33. What about Robin?
If Batman were getting pizza, he would get it from the grotto-like enclave of Zelda’s Gourmet Pizza. The perfect deep-dish pie fit for superheroes or super hangovers since 1978.
1415 21st Street, (916) 447-1400, www.zeldasgourmetpizza.com.
34. TV dinners
Between Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and Man v. Food, Sacramento restaurants have had quite a bit of attention over the past couple of years. From Squeeze Inn’s (5301 Power Inn Road) delicious cheese-skirt burgers and Cafe Rolle’s (5357 H Street) salmon pate, to Jamie’s Broadway Grille (427 Broadway) prime rib, Jim Denny’s (816 12th Street) “The Works” omelet, Parker’s Hot Dogs (1605 Douglas Boulevard in Roseville) dogs and chili and The Golden Bear’s (2326 K Street) tacos and banh mi—there’s some excellent new-school additions to the cadre of old-time 916 eats. It’s a whole lot of delicious to take in.
35. Flower power
Camellias are native to South and Southeast Asia. They were introduced to Sacramento via a Boston man named James Warren. Sacramento was designated Camellia City of the World in 1920, and has held a Camellia Festival for 87 consecutive years. If friggin’ camellias aren’t “Retromento,” nothing is.
36. Acoustic goodness
What started as a barn in the late ’70s on the outskirts of Davis is now a live-music treasure: The Palms Playhouse. Lofts have gone up where the barn once stood, but you can still catch live blues and jazz—and the occasional Midtown hipster Americana act reveling in the Palms’ acoustic goodness at its new location in Winters.
13 Main Street in Winters, (530) 795-1825, www.palmsplayhouse.com.
37. Classic cinema
It’s old, but the Crest Theatre still looks and feels great. Its walls have been housing a theater since 1912, but its recently restored marquee still reminds us of the past. Gerry Watt and his crew of projectionists thread and screen movies like no others in town. Question: Does the Crest still own a 70 mm projector?
1013 K Street, (916) 442-5189, www.thecrest.com.
38. Back to booze
This Elk Grove bar is more than 100 years old, and used to be a grocery store, gas station and stage stop, says the owner. It’s now back to being The Wrangler, an old-style saloon that was popular when it opened first in the ’60s.
8945 Grant Line Road in Elk Grove, (916) 714-9911, http://thewranglerbar.com.
39. The other art house
Opened in 1938, Tower Theatre now owned by Reading Cinemas, a company that has rough time getting its head out of its assets in Australia and New Zealand. But it still has a cool retro neon sign and great employees. The original one-screen theater was converted to a three-screen theater in the ’80s, and the spot is still a perfect date night: dinner at Tower Café on its lush patio, then a walk over to the movies for a foreign film in a historic setting and finally a bottle of wine at Tower Liquor to go to finish off the evening.
2508 Land Park Drive, (916) 442-0985, www.thetowertheatre.com.
40. Ride that pony
Muckraker Lincoln Steffens—famous for The Shame of the Cities, a collection of his journalism for McClure’s Magazine, which revealed the terrible working and living conditions for immigrants at the turn of the last century—spent his childhood in Sacramento. He loved to ride his pony from the family’s homes (one was eventually to become the Governor’s Mansion, now a state park scheduled for closure) to the rural areas around Sacramento, where he often cadged food from farmers. Visit the mansion museum—while it’s still open—and then take your paperback copy of The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens to one of the many coffee shops that now surround the area and read about what Sacramento was like for a future journalist—and his pony.
1526 H Street, www.parks.ca.gov.
41. Three-quarters of a century of garlic breath
The Famous Garlic Steak Sandwich at Club Pheasant—no one does it better than this West Sacramento icon of 75 years, which is now somewhat incongruously occupying the corner of major strip mall. Fried zucchini and minestrone.
2525 Jefferson Boulevard, (916) 371-9530, www.theclubpheasant.com.
42. More than McDonald’s?
The steaks aren’t as cheap as they used to be, but Little Joe (may he rest in peace) and his son George still recommend against cooking them well-done to preserve the flavor. This dive has sold more than a million steaks. Damn good ones, too, especially if you like its house sauce. Lil Joe’s has been an anchor for Del Paso since 1953 in fatter and lean times. Long live Little Joe’s!
1710 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 929-1416.
43. Balloons, punks
You never know, eating a reasonably priced strawberry waffle under a painting of a clownish bear being carried away by balloons may someday fall out of favor with visiting punks, and we will lose our beloved Pancake Circus forever. What a calamity that would be. Though it’s now under new ownership after a transfer in 2005, it has been open since 1934.
2101 Broadway, (916) 452-3322, www.pancakecircus.net.
44. What’s a pith helmet?
Problem: A dog ate your porkpie hat and suddenly a new chapeau is a must. Head to The Village Hat Shop in Old Sacramento and try on a derby, a beanie, a trilby or a stingy brim. Every kind of cap is on the wall; they’ve even got pith helmets. If you leave without a new lid, it’s your own damn fault.
123 K Street, (916) 444-7475, www.villagehatshop.com.
45. Tak, tak, tak
Around since the ’80s, downtown’s Kehlet Typewriter & Fax Co. is the one-man operation of Ole Kehlet. The quirky shop is as full as the proprietor’s knowledge of the predecessors to digital word processors.
1926 16th Street, (916) 447-7171.
46. Come on in
Harrington King’s Acoustic Sanctuary looks somewhat like a purple vardo from the outside (it’s actually a modified truck and camper), but inside, this one-man band is loaded with instruments locked and ready to rock. King, multi-instrumentalist who plays songs by request, has been doing his act since the ’70s, and he is a major part of what makes Midtown any weekend.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights on the corner of 22nd and J streets, (916) 454-9463, www.acousticsanctuary.com.
47. Skate or die
The venerable King’s Skate Country was started in 1947 by the King family in Elk Grove. It’s still there, though a second location in Rancho Cordova, which opened in 1973, recently closed. Go forth and skate!
10408 Franklin Boulevard, (916) 684-2026, www.kingsskatecountry.com.
48. Beer me
Sacramento brews some damn good beer. Heck, some say the city was built on beer money. Sip some suds at established establishments: Rubicon Brewing Company (2004 Capitol Avenue), Hoppy Brewing Company (6300 Folsom Boulevard), River City Brewing Company (545 Downtown Plaza, Suite 1115) and Brew It Up (801 14th Street).
Originally run out of the Fools Foundation, Movies on a Big Screen has been bringing rare and obscure films loyally every Sunday night to the “big screen” since 2006. Everything from the Found Footage Festival to Canadian-themed nights and now run out of the lovely and historic Guild Theater on Broadway, MOBS is a chill way to spend a weekend night.
2828 35th Street, www.moviesonabigscreen.com.
50. Railroad pride
One thing that Sacramento has that we can be inordinately proud of, that is truly better than any other in the world, is our railroad museum. While the California State Railroad Museum, which was founded in 1976, is not on the list of the 70 state parks to be closed in September, it is a state park. Get there. ’Nuff said.
111 I Street, (916) 445-6645, www.csrmf.org.
51. Pet rock
There’s signage near Folsom around the American River Parkway’s 25-mile marker that says rock formations along the river have been there for millions of years. Now that’s old!
52. Subterranean brothel
Sac’s underground has been there for a long time, but recently opened up to the public. We keep uncovering cool pieces of our history as we study and survey more things down there. The most recent addition to the tour is an old bordello.
53. Dangerous tradition
For decades, it has been a rite of passage for young Sacramentans to throw caution to the wind and take a dangerous and drunken trip down the American River in a $20 raft. The party spots shift with the times, as does the police intervention (remember Gilligan’s Island?). But this summer, River Bend Park seems to be the place, as per the hundreds of photos on Facebook.
Goethe Park Road and Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail in Rancho Cordova.
54. Ice-cream brothers
Vic’s Ice Cream (1947) and Burr’s Fountain (1989, but feels like the ’50s) are two sides of the same coin. Both have a lot of history. Each is a landmark in their respective neighborhoods, giving kids brain freeze for decades.
Vic’s Ice Cream, 3199 Riverside Boulevard, (916) 448-0892; Burr’s Fountain, 4920 Folsom Boulevard, (916) 452-5516.
55. Sacramento knights
If you know where they meet up, watching and (we would imagine) participating in the bike jousting and bike polo events around Sacramento is truly entertaining. Through massive consumption of beer and rigorous training, locals battle it out as if they were some sort of post-apocalyptic neo-knights and British royalty.
56. Last-call mob
A & P Liquors sits at 21st and K streets like a lighthouse on the Straits of Bukowski. It is an excellent store with a huge selection of alcohol, soda, snacks and cigarettes. But stand back when they close at 1:45a.m., when an inevitable mob of late-night revelers show up seconds after the door is locked. Oh, the humanity!
1101 21st Street, (916) 444-8901.
57. Being Don Draper
Before there was Mad Men, there was Ed’s Threads. This hole-in-the-wall isn’t a store; it’s a time machine to an era of big bands, white-walled tires and Dapper Dan hair grease. Come for the style and stay for Ed, whose only love greater than vintage clothes is talking about them.
1125 21st Street, (916) 446-8138.
58. Kitten lit
In business for more than 30 years, Richard L. Press Fine & Scholarly Books, “the last of the mastodons,” as he says, has been a valuable resource for visual art and rare books, which he sells with the help of his beloved feline companion(s).
1831 F Street, Suite A; (916) 447-3413; www.richardpressartbooks.com.
59. Ultimate yard sale
The concept of the swap meet, bazaar and flea market is ancient. Denio’s Farmers Market & Swap Meet is one of Sacramento’s oldest swaps. It opened in 1947 as a garage sale, but ballooned into a tradition.
1551 Vineyard Road in Roseville, (916) 782-2704, www.denios.org.
60. O.G. punks
Kepi Ghoulie was the bones of pop-punk legends Groovie Ghoulies, formed in the early ’80s. You can still catch him playing shows every now and then. The Secretions formed in 1991 and are still around, playing raucous punk rock despite the fact that they’re just normal, middle-aged men now.
61. Bubba approved
Underneath Interstate 80’s Yolo Causeway, nature thrives with wetlands, riparian forests and grasslands, the home to hundreds of species of wildlife. It’s the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area. It’s got the beauty of nature and presidential approval (Bill Clinton, 1997).
62. Run, Eppie, run
Begun in 1974, Eppie’s Great Race is billed as the “World’s Oldest Triathlon.” While not really that old, it’s a Sacramento tradition, and some local celebrity athletes, including Mark Wellman, Chuck Lyda and Harry Cordellos, have finished.
63. Shake it
Hopefully Whitey’s Jolly Kone in West Sacramento, founded in 1963, will be with us forever, because without a sunny peach shake, it will be as dark here as nuclear winter.
1300 Jefferson Boulevard, (916) 371-3605.
64. Cone clownin’
After you’ve gotten your fill of microbrews at Pangaea Two Brews Cafe, step across the street and dig into an old-school clown cone from Gunther’s Ice Cream. You can’t help but feel like a kid eating an upside-down ice-cream cone with a face.
2801 Franklin Boulevard, (916) 457-6646, www.gunthersicecream.com.
65. Original freeze
There has been a frozen orange concoction available on Stockton Boulevard since 1946, when the first Merlino’s Freeze opened there. Merlino’s was sold to Mr. Pickles, and now the Original Orange Freeze stand that sits on the spot is not associated. But both the stand and the frozen delights are Sac institutions. Try a lemon Merlino’s while watching a River Cats game at Raley Field, and an orange-and-cream freeze and a pastrami sandwich at the stand, where Sacramentans have relaxed for decades.
66. Darrell’s way
Founded in 1947, Corti Brothers narrowly avoided closing last year, so don’t wait to check out its incredible wine selection, encyclopedic pasta aisle and huge butcher counter. Vintage sodas and candies a plus.
5810 Folsom Boulevard, (916) 736-3800, www.cortibros.biz.
67. Poker face
Though certain types of gambling are found only at tribal casinos, poker is one form that is allowed in Midtown, and places like the Limelight Card Room (1014 Alhambra Boulevard) and Capitol Casino (411 N. 16th Street) are two where you can go and put the skills you got watching the World Series of Poker to work. Sure, you may not be a Jonathan Duhamel, but if you don’t play, you’ll never know.
68. Go, Joe!
The august institution Sutter Club is probably not threatened in any way, but the chance of the average Joe getting in before he dies is slim. Make that extremely slim. If Joe does get in, he better not be wearing jeans, or he will get the boot. Dressed properly, he will be treated to an insider’s view of one of the most beautiful buildings in town, and the elbows of Sac’s elite to rub on. He may exit better-than-average Joe.
1220 Ninth Street, (916) 442-0456, www.sutterclub.org.
69. Bring down the hammer
Since Broadway Hardware closed, Hollywood Hardware is the go-to place in Land Park for vintage house fixtures. Their sign is straight out of the ’50s, too!
5303 Freeport Boulevard, (916) 455-6488.
70. Coachie rules
Pete Carril, the 81-year-old assistant coach who invented the “Princeton offense” back in the day, has been with the Sacramento Kings for more than a decade. He threatens to quit each season; who thought he might go out with the NBA threatening to quit on him?
71. Finally Saigon
Now finally called “Little Saigon,” this area has been home to many Vietnamese since an immigration boom in the 1980s. Check out this ethnic commercial district.
South Stockton Boulevard between Fruitridge and Florin roads, www.facebook.com/littlesaigonsac.
72. The daily scribe
Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters has been covering the political beat since 1981. And with print media everywhere struggling, it’s good to see him still getting his Hendrik Hertzberg on for California politics.
73. Old dub
River City Phoenix was the first true medical-cannabis dispensary in the city. The original location was raided by the feds, and the club now resides just south of El Camino Boulevard near Business 80, owned and operated by the same folk. That’s about as “Retromento” as legal pot gets in California.
1508 El Camino Avenue, (916) 925-5696, www.rivercityphoenix.info.
74. The first big box?
Hard to believe that the original Sears from the original Florin Mall is still there, at what’s now called Florin Towne Centre. The oldest damn big-box retail spot in the city, it of course bears no semblance to 1968 form. But you can still buy a 540-piece craftsman tool set ($994) or even overalls for (just $48). Not quite ’68 prices (sigh).
5901 Florin Road, (916) 394-1200.
75. South Sac’s majestic
Built in 1940, the Colonial Theatre is now home to more local hip-hop concerts than almost anywhere else in town, plus wrestling matches, horror film festivals and more. A safe haven for the stuff Midtown won’t let pass, perhaps?
3522 Stockton Boulevard, (916) 456-7099, www.colonialtheatre.biz.
76. Polka time
Each summer, hundreds of volunteers spend weeks rehearsing original waltz and polka numbers set to the music of Vienna’s most renowned composer. Bonus: Fireworks wrap up the free show. The Strauss Festival of Elk Grove goes down every evening during the last Thursday through Sunday in the month of July.
77. Neigh-borhood watch
Yep, police horses are old-school. They are in some ways there for ceremonial and visual purposes, but they’re still useful for crowd control during large events, including Second Saturday.
78. Is it real?
OK, so it’s not Lucha Libre, but attending a show featuring the Total Wresting Federation and the Sacramento Wrestling Federation is a rare thrill. Characters like Warpath, Mustafa Saed, Vortex and female wrestler “Downtown” Whitley Brown are as entertaining as their names. Add the fact that they perform in a historic theater, and you have to at least see it once.
79. Spark me up
The Memorial Auditorium was built in 1926 and has hosted shows from the Beach Boys to the Foo Fighters. It is also the place where Keith Richards got electrocuted in 1965. Nowadays, you can still get your “Retromento” vibe on—but while seeing lesser acts, such as A Perfect Circle. Or Chris Tucker.
1515 J Street, (916) 808-5291, www.sacramentoconventioncenter.com.
SN&R’s Facebook friends and their O.G.
Sacto bucket-list wishes
80. Jessica Markenson:
go to a River Cats game - i can’t believe i still have never been!
81. Fred Harris:
the Ziggeraut building (pyramid) never been up close
82. Bailey Zindel:
win a sammie and win the jammies
83. Elizabeth B.:
The underground sac tour!
84. Jessica Honsinger:
I’m a lifelong Sacramento (well, West Sac, but whatever) resident and have never eaten at Morton’s, Biba, Frank Fat’s or the Firehouse. I’ve never tubed on the American, either.
85. Ed Dickey:
I’ve lived in Sac for nearly 15 years and still haven’t been to the Tower Theatre, Davis Food Co-op, or taken a boat under the Tower Bridge. All bucket-worthy.
86. Sandra Elizabeth:
Slushie a bike cop
87. Sarah Sol:
My household came up with some yesterday, but I can’t remember them all now. They included getting a snow cone from Osaka Ya on 10th Street, looking at (or sneaking into) the rail yards before they’re gone, enjoying the river area/marina before the Broadway Bridge is built, eating at the Market Club on 5th Street before the neighborhood’s character changes (I guess a development is planned for over there?), skating at Iceland, taking Yolobus to the airport (before light rail expands out to there), and shopping at Beers Books and Time Tested.
88. Barbarous Cock:
to play every venue in Sacramento @ least once before throwing in the *%#-rag
89. Raymond Sanchez:
If you really have to ask, you haven’t been a Sacramentan long enough to actually appreciate any of the suggestions! Drive ins. You have to go there before they are gone. Most of the stuff I grew up on IS GONE … and Sac only seems to be losing more and more of its hometown charm. Gunther’s, go there. Support Art Ellis on J St. for art stuff. Bowl at Country Club Lanes.
Is Foothill Skate still around? If so … skate there, with your kids. Scandia, do it, mini golfing that is. What else is there anymore? So many WONDERFUL things are gone, business especially. For being a place that prides itself on small town feel with big city amenities, it sure as hell treats its local businesses like crap.
90. Rush to posh
Opened in 1853, the old gold-rush-era industrial building that houses Lofts at Globe Mills is now a set of upscale residences and affordable senior housing. Such is the future of urban density living?
1131 C Street, www.loftsatglobemills.com.
91. Shitkickers required
Old Western cowboy bar Stoney Inn on Del Paso Boulevard opened in 1972, but has seen a plethora of musical acts in every genre—from Afrika Bambaataa to Leon Russell. The pingpong table in the back appears to be at least 40 years old, too, but its sound system for square-dancing night is pristine and new. Stoney is also proof that we’re still a cow town at heart.
1320 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 927-6023, www.stoneyinn.com.
92. SN&R does not endorse biking under the influence
It is always fun to ride bicycles together, but doing the Midtown-barhopping circuit on a nice cruiser with your pals on a balmy summer night is pure fun. Getting arrested for drunken bicycle riding after you’ve been barhopping on cruiser bikes, however, is not so fun.
Between 16th and 30th streets and B Street and Broadway.
93. Door number …
There are certain doors in Sacramento that are best left unopened. That said, we urge you to accidentally walk into a Chinese gambling den for an eye-opener that you will never forget. Go ahead, pick a door around P, Q and S streets west of 15th Street.
94. Is it Kenny G?
One of the greatest mysteries in Midtown is the identity of the lone saxophone player who serenades the sunset most evenings in the alley behind the abandoned Crystal Ice factory on 16th and R streets. We can’t imagine that he will be welcome when the building becomes luxury lofts, which is a tragedy, because his sounds are so sweet.
At the R Street Corridor near 18th Street.
95. Future books and coffee
The former Levinson’s Book Store at 1014 10th Street was unoccupied for years before Temple Fine Coffee & Tea moved into the charming space. But recently, The Sacramento Bee reported that the cafe in the may be relocating. Visit its current home while you still can.
1014 10th Street, (916) 443-4960, www.templecoffee.com.
96. Kings on the cheap
This may be the last season of professional basketball in Sacramento for a long, long time. While the current Kings, who came to town in 1985, are only a shadow of what they were in the early 2000s, there is now opportunity to sit closer to the floor than ever before. From there, it is easier to see that Hasheem Thabeet’s right leg is just slightly bigger than Jennifer Aniston.
97. Gettin’ high
The uppermost point in Sacramento County, at 828 feet, is Carpenter Hill, which, according to Wikipedia, is the lowest high point of any county in California. How very Sacto, no? Anyway, pack a lunch and visit this spot, just north of Highway 50 at the Sacramento-El Dorado counties border, before it’s overtaken by antennae and cellphone towers and, well, get as high as it gets.
98. Deficits and dips
The Clunie Pool in McKinley Park opened in August of 1936. Budget cuts threaten its cool-off potential, so this may be the last chance for your kids to get ejected for peeing in the water.
601 Alhambra Boulevard, www.cityofsacramento.org.
99. Domies for life!
Is there anything more “Retromento” than an enclave of futuristic-looking dome residences, built in the ’70s on a few acres hidden at the northwest end of UC Davis’ now behemoth campus? No. The Domes, founded in 1972, are an eco-retro treasure—whose future still remains up in the air, as UCD housing aims to remove the “e,” add an “r” and stack up some student dorms. Yawn. And tear: Despite efforts by residents and alumni, the Domes are set to close this week, July 31—although last-ditch efforts to keep the community still are in play.
South of Orchard Park Circle at Orchard Park Drive in Davis.
This story has been corrected from its original print version.