South Hayward’s dive bar set to reopen on B Street
February 15, 2017
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If you’ve driven down Mission Boulevard in Hayward, the Dirty Bird Lounge’s flickering neon sign may have caught your eye, but its rustic outer appearance could have quickly diverted your interest. Drive down Mission now and there’s still that rustic charm, with the addition of boarded up windows and an abandoned lot.
The local watering hole in South Hayward closed its doors in late December in exchange for a move to downtown, and is set to reopen on March 17, which will be the bar’s eighth anniversary. The move ultimately happened “due to the bar and much of the property around it being sold to a developer who is putting up high-density residential,” Dirty Bird owner Aric Yeverino said.
Apart from the new location — the former location of ME Restaurant and Lounge before it closed in 2014 — it looks like there will be a whole new menu, new look, new vibe, taking on an Argentinian flare, according to the bar’s Facebook page. The Dirty Bird is trading in its south side notoriety for Argentinian tapas.
I stumbled upon this local gem one Thursday night with my roommate, looking to pass the time. I’d seen the bar before on the way to campus from my apartment, but like many onlookers, I never went in because of its shanty look. From the outside, it seemed like the “Bird” took the seedy appeal of a dive bar to another level: a dark roadhouse past its glory days, dimly lit, plopped between a smog check shop and an empty lot. But it must have had some sort of charm since they generally had a nice amount of patrons from the look of the parking lot.
The experience inside was much more appealing, retaining the dark look but giving it a whole new meaning. Banksy and Tim Burton-esque Day of the Dead portraits hung on the walls, which will make their return at the new spot along with cheap beer, a red-dimmed lounge area, pool tables and groovy music.
The bouncer, Frank, a man with a salt-and-pepper slicked back ponytail, dressed in all black and a trusty switchblade on his hip, could’ve been someone right out of a Quentin Tarantino film. He was an enjoyable, mysterious, sober presence, to assist on the descent to becoming plastered, and definitely part of the bar’s appeal.
“Results from our move have been generally positive,” Yeverino told the Pioneer. “Our real regulars know of our situation and can’t wait to come to the new spot. All the same faces will be returning, including Frank and some new ones from [his Oakland-based] bar, the Libertine.”
I live right around the corner, so after my first visit, this place became the spot to go get trashed on the weekends. It became a running joke among my friends that the Dirty Bird is “the perfect stumbling distance” from my place.
Since downtown is generally where all the action is as far as nightlife, this bar was a lucky find for a college student not trying to break the bank and who lives on the opposite side of downtown. The Mission Boulevard location was ideal for me, so the move also means the dissolving of the iconic “hood” spot I’ve grown to appreciate.
The new Dirty Bird will be at 926 B St. The stars aligned for Yeverino in the last few years, as he opened a new bar in Oakland in 2015, made connections there, was eventually bought out by Mission Boulevard property owners and prime real estate appeared on the market, according to an article in the East Bay Express.
“As I’ve known for quite some time the city wasn’t exactly looking for just a bar to move into downtown,” Yeverino told the Pioneer. “Luckily through opening my other bar in Oakland [the Libertine] I met a great Argentinian chef named Javi.” The pair linked up and partnered to cultivate this new idea of Argentinian kitchen fusion with an atmosphere of happily buzzed clientele. While the drink prices will slightly go up to ease the damage of the remodel, as a fan, I hope the “Bird” keeps close to its roots as a dive bar whose slogan is: “We are here to pickle your liver.”