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A Whole New McNear's

By Sara Bir

Considering that the portion of the McNear Building that houses McNear's Saloon and Dining House and the Mystic Theatre has been around since 1886, it's understandable that the venerable downtown Petaluma music venue and hangout might need an extensive renovation. The space has a long history--it once housed one of the first silent movie houses in California. After that theater (the original Mystic) burned down, it was rebuilt as a pornography theater called the State.

Well, there are no longer any porno flicks mucking up historic downtown Petaluma. McNear's as we now know it has been that way since 1976, when Jeff Harriman and Wallace Lourdeaux bought the building from John A. McNear Jr.'s daughter and restored it inside and out. The owners have recently added a new chapter to the building's history, with extensive renovations throughout. The Saloon and Dining House's improvements include a remodeled kitchen, new plush carpeting, and a refinished bar. In the theater, the dance floor is refinished, the carpeting is new, and there's a new Apogee sound system.

The two McNear's businesses--McNear's Saloon and Dining House and the Mystic Theatre--are a collaboration between Jeff and Nancy Harriman, Bente Niles, the McNear building manager, and local entrepreneur Kenneth O'Donnell.

McNear's closed down for the renovations on Jan. 6, and reopened with their new look on Jan. 17, with a big reopening bash featuring BR549, the Paladins, and the Dusty 45s.

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From the January 23-29, 2003 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

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