Back in the game: Joe Marty’s set to reopen in December with help from your neighbors
Three years ago, Land Park residents Devon Atlee and Jack Morris sat around their friend Tom Walcott’s house, watching the San Francisco Giants. Half way through the game they started talking about Joe Marty’s and what a shame it was that the bar had been sitting empty sense the fire in 2005 and that no one had stepped up to get it going again. They all agreed that Joe Marty’s would make for an ideal neighborhood hangout. By the end of the game, they had decided that “someone” would be them.
The two friends started the negotiations on the lease, trademarked the iconic Joe Marty’s name and after three years of hard, work they are set to open in December. Morris, emphasized the historical importance of bringing back memories of a bygone baseball era and what the reopening would mean to the neighborhood.
“It’s a landmark in Sacramento and wouldn’t it be cool to have Joe Marty’s back and make it new? We chatted with our neighbors who all want a place like Joe Marty’s , a place that everybody knows your name, kinda like Cheers. East Sac and midtown have that place, Land Park needs one,” said Morris.
Located at 1500 Broadway, the space was an empty shell when Jack and Devon first saw the space three years ago. After several hurdles with lease negotiations, Joe Marty’s is looking great. “When we first went in, it was somewhat gutted. They redid the storefront in 2007. There was no electrical, no plumbing. We had to start from scratch. The neat thing is that all the ceilings are gone. What was left was beautiful high ceilings and tresses, which makes it aesthetically cool for a bar,” Devon said.
Kelly Ariza, who previously owned and managed Crawdads Cantina on the Sacramento River before she sold it two years ago, has been hired as general manager. She too, has strong ties to Land Park with both of her children attending neighborhood schools and is excited to bring Joe Marty’s back to life.
She is currently hiring bartenders, cooks and servers to join their staff. Much of the hiring has been done with people from the neighborhood. “Our contractor is Tom Jones. He is vice president of Hilbers Inc. Our decorator, Karen Messing, lives in Land Park. Investors all live in Land Park. It’s a neighborhood thing. Scott and Marika Rose are helping with marketing. They also live in Land Park,” continued Morris.
Scott Leyseth , who is well known as the Sporting Chef, a longtime friend, has helped with the menu. Because of the small kitchen, basic pub fare will be the food of choice with two or three nice salads. They will also make use of the barbecue smokers. The bar and the food will be served opposite eight big television screens located throughout the bar and grille so there is never a moment away from the action.
Asked if they have any memories of the old Joe Marty’s, both Jack and Devon remembered the bar as, “…the place to go for the final, final.” First Melarkey’s for a show and then Joe Marty’s to end the night. Devon and Jack’s friendship goes back years and years when Jack and his family moved to the neighborhood 15 years ago. According to Jack, “I met (Devon) when I was moving into the neighborhood he drove up and asked, ‘Do you need help moving stuff in?’” And they’ve been friends and neighbors ever since.
Devon has loved the game of baseball since he was a kid. The third of four boys, Devon played ball with his brothers in the 1970s, first for the Land Park Pacific Little League. “Dad coached us. We all had to play ball,” said Devon.
A ball player for John F. Kennedy High School (class of ’81), Devon next played with his brother for the American Legion team, making it to the World Series.
Earlier this year, the Land Park News spoke with sign preservation aficionado, Gretchen Steinberg of South Land Park who explained how the Joe Marty’s sign was to be preserved. Back then, she said, “Tower Theatre’s neon sign is a historically protected sign as it is attached to a historic building. And everything on that building is protected, all the signs on that building. The neon, the dancing kids, and Joe Marty’s, but protection is rare and we are hoping to get more protections on the local level by getting them deemed historic. It’s tricky because there’s no precedent in getting signs deemed historic.” Fortunately the sign survived the fire that happened about 10 years ago.
According to an article in in this publication by historian Lance Armstrong, the bar’s namesake, Joe Marty’s, comes from the Sacramento native and a product of Christian Brothers High School who enjoyed success as a Solons player for seven seasons, including the 1950 season when he held the role of player-manager, and as a businessman who operated his bar, Joe Marty’s. Marty passed away on Oct. 4, 1984. According Armstrong’s article, Marty was born Joseph Anton Marty on Sept. 1, 1913. He received a three-sport scholarship in baseball, football and basketball from St. Mary’s College of California, where he studied and played sports in 1932 and 1933. Armstrong also reported that in 1934, the San Francisco Seals, A Double-A minor league baseball team of the Pacific Coast League, acquired the rights to the then-20-year-old Marty. Marty’s third season with the Seal’s, a Double-A minor league baseball team of the Pacific Coast League, acquired the rights to the then 20-year-old Marty.
“Marty’s third season with the Seals was so successful that he attracted the attention of major league teams through such statistics as a league best .359 batting average, 215 hits, and 17 home runs. His five seasons in the majors included World Series appearances, one of which occurred in an Oct. 8, 1938 game, in which he became the first Sacramento native to hit a home run in a World Series game,” the article continued.
Without any formal advertising, Joe Marty’s has attracted more than 1,000 likes on its Facebook and have been providing fans with updates and even polls, such as the ever popular beer poll. The most recent post asked followers to help identify the beer selection – “What beers would you like to see on tap at the NEW Joe Marty’s??” — you can imagine the range of answers.
Some of the answers including the following responses:
Bob Erndt said, “Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Sudwerk Helles Dry Hop Lager. Yes, a good local, every changing sample of local breweries would be great.”
Andy Pfeffer said at least one nice stout or porter. “New Helvetia, Oak Park Brewery and New Glory all have great options!”
The new Joe Marty’s will be a great place to meet your friends, enjoy a ball game and put a smile on your face.