November 18, 2010
Bakersfield’s night of a thousand reunions happens Wednesday.
I’m talking about the “night before Thanksgiving,” (November 24,) when everyone comes home to see family, friends, and catch up on old times. It’s one of my favorite nights of the year, and a big Bakersfield party night. Bars fill-up early, and one thing you don’t want to do is wait until the last minute. To help you get going early, I’ve compiled some suggestions on how to maximize your pre-turkey pachanga no matter what side of town you live on.
Above: local clubs like Fishlips pictured above always fill-up the night before Thanksgiving. Photo by Jeremy Gonzalez.
If you’re sticking with tradition, a lot of locals kick it off in Old Town Kern. Pyrenees Restaurant, 717 East 21st Street, Wool Growers, 620 East 19th Street, and Narducci’s, 622 East 21st Street, are all great places to start right after work after 5 p.m. Take in an early, hearty Basque feast, or just crowd in around the bar among a mix of old high school chums reliving glory days, or chatty girls laughing it up. You can bring the kids too, a big plus if your babysitter is unavailable.
Above: The night before Thanksgiving is the biggest night of reunions and gatherings in downtown Bakersfield. Photo by Jeremy Gonzalez.
Former Bakersfield resident, Lauren Lindsay, never misses the annual party trek home. Now residing in Los Angeles, she clears her schedule weeks in advance in anticipation for the big night out.
Above from left: Bakersfield's Velorio makes the house shake, while bartender Aaron Forman pours some liquid party for an unidentified party gal. Photo by Jeremy Gonzalez.
“I always think about how great it’s going to be to see everyone. It’s one of those holidays, where even if you can’t make it home for Christmas, Thanksgiving usually works out. We always meet a group at someone’s house first, have dinner somewhere, and end up in downtown to dance and party. Then I call my mom to pick me up at the end of the night,” she laughed.
Above: Mento Buru jams at Fishlips. Photo by Jeremy Gonzalez
Yes, downtown is the epicenter of pre-turkey day mayhem. Guthrie’s Alley Cat, Riley’s, Syndicate, The Padre - they’ll all be keeping mixologists busy pumping out every libation imaginable. But it’s not all about the alcohol, there’s plenty of dancing and live music going down.
Bakotopia and Fishlips’ host the annual “Night B4 Thanksgiving Jam,” with funky Latin reggae/ska vets, Mento Buru, who have performed a Thanksgiving eve show every year since ’93. Also on the bill is Latin dance maniacs, Velorio, who’ve been making so many waves in the Los Angeles roc en espanol scene, somebody better sign these guys quick. DJ Mikey also spins throughout the night, keeping the music going non-stop until closing time. The festivities jump off at 7 p.m., admission is $7, and reservations are recommended. Fishlips is located at, 1517 18th St. Call 324-2557 for more info.
A few blocks over at Sandrini’s, 1918 Eye Street, ‘80s hair metal tribute “The After Party,” will spew forth every monster ballad and devil-horned anthem you can imagine. Sporting over-the-top outfits, groovy wigs, and shockingly form-fitting spandex, they’re a beautiful mess of everything you loved about that memorable blink in music history. These kooky cats can play too, so request some Motley Crue and get ready to bang your head into oblivion. Admission is $5. Call Sandrini’s for info at 322-8900.
If you dig old school rap, The Nile Bar, 1721 19th Street, will present “Bodyrock,” featuring Mellow Man Ace and Paperboy, beginning at 8 p.m. Your birthday party boy host for the evening will be DJ Noe G, plus DJ Eric Vidal of the legendary Baka Boyz. Tickets are $15 per person or $25 per couple. For info, call 661-808-5669.
Over in the southwest area, B Ryder’s, 7401 White Lane, has a special show with Taft-based county rock band, Good Question (pictured above) at 9 p.m. These guys literally bring half the town with them to every show, as I witnessed at Luigi’s 100th anniversary bash. While you’re there, say hi to Shelina, Mike, and the rest of the gang. Call: 661-397-7304 for more info.
If you live in the Rosedale area, there are also plenty of strip mall watering holes to meet up at: I heard the new Shamrockks Irish Pub, 4715 Coffee Road, is pretty happening, as is The Prime Cut, 9500 Brimhall Road, with a “Songwriters Showcase,” and guest Rudy Parris (pictured above,) at 7 p.m. If you’re ridin’ the “Hawg” back to Bako, you can always park it at Chuy’s Mesquite, 8660 Rosedale Highway, for “Bike Night.”
So, start getting your posse together. As always, party smart and have a designated driver or call a cab – there’s an app for that.
Don’t forget “Bakotopia Unplugged” open-mic night every Wednesday night, from 8-11pm at Fishlips. We’re off this Wednesday for the holiday, but will resume the following week.
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Matt’s Picks: November 19 - 20!
3OH!3 with Hello Goodbye, Down With Webster, and K. Flay at The Dome, 2201 V St., Friday, November 19th, $25, All Ages, 661-327-0190. The story goes that Electropop duo 3OH!3 met in physics class while attending the University of Colorado in 2004. Since then, it’s all been one party of “matter in motion.” Debuting in their hometown of Boulder, they took off instantly at the dawn of the new electro music craze. Creating mindless anthems for hyper youth at the Vans Warped Tour, their latest CD “Streets of Gold,” is still simmering on the charts. The CD’s first single, “My First Kiss,” features singer, Ke$ha, and has an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to it. Leave your brain at home, and enjoy. More info at: timgardeapresents.com
-Comedian Lisa Lampanelli at The Fox Theater, 2001 H St., Friday, November 19th, $38.50, 661-324-1936. (CLICK ON PHOTO TO READ INTERVIEW AND SHOW PREVIEW!)
-3 Leg Torso at Dove Creek Church, 5131 Office Park Drive, Friday, November 19th, $15 to $20, 7 p.m., 661-324-9000. (CLICK ON PHOTO TO READ INTERVIEW AND SHOW PREVIEW!)
-Soulajar with On The Spot Trio at Fishlips, 1517 18th Street, Friday, November 19th, $5, 9 p.m., 661-324-2557. (CLICK ON FLIER BELOW TO ENLARGE)
-15th Annual "Music in Motion" Field Marching Competition at Centennial High School, 5601 Hageman Road, Saturday, November 20th, $5 to $8, 9 a.m. (CLICK PHOTO BELOW FOR SHOW PREVIEW AND COMPLETE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS!)
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*Also printed in The Bakersfield Californian, 11-18-10