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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as education and youth staff writer. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in jo...  (More)

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Honcho Bar soft opens in Los Altos

Uploaded: Jan 5, 2016
Downtown Los Altos got slightly more hip toward the end of 2015 with the opening of Honcho Bar, a lounge serving up craft beer, wine, and soon, small plates.

Honcho Bar soft opened at 235 1st St. on Dec. 23, 2015, but is not yet up to full speed, owner Roderick "Mauby" Newman said this week. January hours are still undetermined (check the Honcho Bar Facebook page for updates), but Newman hopes to have more established hours by February. Those hours will be Wednesday and Thursday, 4-10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 4-11 p.m., but could expand "if there is a demand throughout the year," Newman said.

When open, the lounge will be serving several wines and beers by glass, bottle and tap as well as an "assortment of ciders, bottled beers, port, vermouth (and) coffee," Newman said. You’ll find wine from Sante Arcangeli, a winery in Aromas, and Teac Mor Vineyards in the Russian River Valley, among others. The brew lineup includes San Francisco's Magnolia Brewery and Faction Brewing in Alameda, plus others.

Newman, a Los Altos resident who has worked in the food-and-drink industries almost his entire life -- from barista-ing and bartending to managing San Francisco restaurants to a stint as assistant food and beverage director for a large resort in Carlsbad -- snagged the 1st Street space in early 2015. He said at the time he hoped to create an upscale yet comfortable "gathering space for people to work or get to know each other or share a meal or just have happy hour."

Newman initially planned to open in April or May of that year but said he faced "many months of delays from various agencies and construction," pushing back the opening until late December.

"We had to put many items on hold until all approvals were finally signed off," Newman wrote in an email. "Those delays certainly carried over to many internal facets of our opening. We are only comfortable opening with regular hours when we feel we are ready to provide great service to our guests."

As Newman hires more staff, both menu and hours will expand, Newman said. He plans to add small plates and a low-proof cocktail program as soon as possible. It’s not set in stone, but he’s hoping for more regular hours by February.

Editor's note: This story incorrectly stated that Honcho Bar currently had limited hours of Wednesday and Thursday, 4-10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 4-11 p.m. Those will be the full hours eventually, to start approximately in February. For current hours, check the lounge's Facebook page.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by RW, a resident of another community,
on Jan 6, 2016 at 8:31 am

The name Honcho Bar is kind of atrocious. Not because of the actual meaning of the word but because of the slang meaning. Think honcho mustache.

 +   3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter., a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Jan 7, 2016 at 7:10 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Web Link

A person in charge of some group or of some function, usually a male person. A Japanese word, often mistakenly thought to be of Spanish origin. In Japanese it's a term for a small-time yakuza gangster in charge of just a few underlings, but the underworld flavor has mostly been lost as the word has been adopted into English.
He quickly got promoted to be the head marketing honcho in that dot.com startup.

 +   2 people like this
Posted by Modern Times, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jan 11, 2016 at 12:01 pm

The absolute first thing I thought when I saw the name Honcho Bar was "Oh wow, someone is opening a gay bay; that IS big news"
I can't confirm or deny that by the story, but I'm hoping it's true, just for an addition to the mix.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Ummm, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Jan 11, 2016 at 3:46 pm

Wasn't Honcho the name of a gay porn magazine?

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park,
on Jan 12, 2016 at 9:10 pm

I think the head honcho of this joint should take charge and switch the name of this watering hole.

 +   4 people like this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Jan 13, 2016 at 7:23 pm

I think the name of the bar isn't a big deal.

I really care more about the food and hospitality offerings. But that's just me...

As noted by others, the word "honcho" has been watered down by multiple definitions to the point that it simply isn't a particularly controversial name in 2016.

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