In February, the G Street Pub closed its doors. The local bar operated in a building near the corner of Third and G streets downtown that has housed many local businesses over the past few decades. After a change of ownership, however, the future of the aging building was unclear.
In April, Chris Armanini, a former shift manager at the G Street Pub, signed a long-term lease with the new owners and set out to open his own bar, calling it G Street WunderBar.
Armanini, a Davis resident since 1984, will be taking his first foray into business ownership, but he’s confident he has what it takes.
“I’ve already had plenty of experience running a bar,” he said in an interview. “I just haven’t owned one yet.”
Perhaps the greatest challenge facing Armanini is the neglected condition of the building. The previous owners left behind some serious problems, the most notable being a broken sewage system that often left the bathrooms flooded and nonfunctional.
But Armanini was not intimidated by the building’s obvious need for repairs.
“I have 15 years of experience in this building, so I know what it needs,” he said. “And the owners have been pretty open to me making improvements.”
Improvements is an understatement. In a few months’ time, Armanini has overseen the complete removal of the old bathrooms and sewer lines, which involved cutting a deep trench right through the foundation of the main bar room. The bathrooms were then moved to the back of the building and outfitted with brand-new plumbing.
But plumbing wasn’t the only issue Armanini needed to tackle. There were problems with the energy efficiency of the building as well.
“There was literally no insulation,” he said. “I don’t know how they made money in the summer.”
Armanini decided to have the ceiling completely redone, adding insulation and replacing the old ductwork with new insulated ducting. He also had LED lighting installed to make the bar even more energy-efficient.
Finally, Armanini removed the carpet and plans to replace it with an epoxy surface. A drain in the middle of the room will allow the floors to be cleaned more quickly and effectively.
Armanini admits he may be taking a risk with his new business.
“I’m nervous, but I think it will work,” he said. “This town needs something to do.”
And there will be plenty to do at G Street WunderBar. Armanini plans to offer video games, dart boards, and pool tables — with pool tournaments held on Sundays. A new stage will be added in the front room for live bands on Friday nights, and karaoke on Mondays.
At its core, however, G Street WunderBar is still a bar, and Armanini has taken care of the basics. A new glycol delivery system will allow him to offer 16 beers on tap, and an improved kitchen will be open late to feed the nighttime crowd.
Armanini says he is on schedule for a soft opening in late August. The bar is located at 228 G St., in downtown Davis.