By December 1, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

BarView – Noel at Nino’s

BarView Noel at Nino’s Place

By Kate Serpa Photos by Philip Johnson

(To be sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells”)

Dashing down McHenry, In your big fat lifted truck. Why are your brights on? Tailgaters freaking suck. But I know I’ll be just fine, Left turn at the neon sign, Two ‘Excuse Me’ shots if you please! Got to Nino’s just in time!

OH Nino’s Place, OH Nino’s Place, Ten beers on tap and more, Hot bartenders pour great drinks, It’s your ultimate December score! OH Nino’s Place, OH Nino’s Place, It may seem really far. A short drive is worth your while though, Because it’s a fantastic bar!

… you people should consider yourselves lucky. I was going to write the whole damn article in holiday singsong fashion until Phil poured the rest of the peppermint Schnapps down the drain. I called him something that was very un-Christmasy, and he reminded me that 3 a.m. is not the time to be composing drunken lyrical interpretations of holiday classics. Bah humbug, Phil! Don’t you know Christmas caroling is less fun sober? Why do you think carolers always have thermoses? You think they’re really carting around cocoa? No, sir. It’s liquefied Christmas cheer (otherwise known as brandy — it’s good for the vocal chords). ‘Tis the season, Modesto! It’s easy to get caught up in your own snow-globe bubble of home bar/downtown scene, but sometimes it’s good to burst out and go somewhere off the beaten path. I for one am guilty of not straying far from my regular circuit and often do forget about all Modesto has to offer. I confess. I am guilty; stick me on the naughty list.

Usually when Phil and I set up a bar interview, we go during the week at a pre-Happy Hour time in order to catch the bar at its slowest so we can have a nice, uninterrupted chat with the bartender, however, Nino’s Place bartender, the lovely Tarah Viscarra, had a different approach. Nino’s Place was my first midnight-Saturday night concert and Crown-fueled interview. It was packed on the patio, and there was a live band playing and people were dancing and playing pool and smoking and drinking and laughing and I had to yell my questions at Tarah while she was slinging drinks behind the bar and she yelled her answers back to me and it was awesome. And Nino’s does not short you on the awesome; pool tables, darts, free line dancing lessons, karaoke, HDTVs playing whatever reindeer games you fancy, no-cover ongoing live music, beer pong, a sizable back patio for dancing and drinking, two bars, a diverse mix of fun patrons, Tarah making shots behind the bar like a boss with bar manager Mike Haley, constant drink specials, and a partridge in a pear tree, people.

Lovely Tarah has been at the locally owned and operated Nino’s since it changed hands six months ago. She states, “It rocks here! We’re on the outskirts so we get a really mixed crowd. We have an inside bar and an outside bar; we do tons of live music — I love it.” I did bring up with her that many perceive Nino’s as strictly a biker bar, to which she responded: “Hell yes we’re a biker bar! But people also should really know everyone is welcome here — the more the merrier!” And ‘tis the season to be merry, my friends.

When talking to Nino’s patrons, one word is consistently kept coming up: rocks. The bar rocks, the bands rock, the pool rocks, the customers rock, Tarah undeniably rocks, the location rocks, and I had a whiskey on the rocks … and now I’m all rocked out on the Christmas cheer. I have to go, everyone. I have some serious caroling to do. Happy Holidays, Modesto!

5219 McHenry Ave, Modesto, CA<>



Posted in: featured, food & drink

About the Author:

Kate Serpa does not live in Modesto, CA, nor does she attend court-reporting school. She has not played for the piano for a number of years and she is definitely not excited about helping out at the McHenry Museum. She detests drinking, bar hopping, and late night adventures, and thinks girls who dye their hair red are disgraceful. She has absolutely zero sense of humor and is boring as hell.