B-Side: Behind the Music

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If your idea of a dive bar is a cavelike establishment with cracked vinyl bar stools and the smell of ancient cigarettes and spilled beer, downtown’s new B-Side may cause you to rethink. The team that owns Shady Lady Saloon—Jason Boggs, Alex Origoni and Garrett Van Vleck—plus building owner Bret Bair have created what they refer to as a neighborhood dive bar, but this one is immaculate, with a distinctly retro vibe. There’s a custom-made redwood bar and pedestal-style stools that could be from a groovy 1970s dinette set. The back wall features repurposed vintage audio equipment and guitar amps, the tubes rewired into glowing blue LED lights. Vintage movies like “Repo Man” (1984) and “Enter the Dragon” (1973) play on screens behind the bar. And then there’s the sound system, the heartbeat of the whole enterprise. 

Boggs grew up with vinyl records, admiring DJs like Mix Master Mike and Invisibl Skratch Piklz. He wanted to create a place where the art of spinning records could thrive, which is why B-Side has a DJ station with two vintage Technics 1200 turntables and a Rane mixer. The setup is completed with high-end JBL home stereo speakers from the ’70s. 

Wednesday through Sunday from 9 p.m. until closing (and during some happy hours), DJs such as CrookOne, Shaun Slaughter, DJ TrashEpiphany and DJ Satapana drop needles onto records, spinning anything and everything: classic blues, R&B, lounge, funk, punk, garage, psychedelic, electronic, rock and reggae. The bar also has a growing house collection of LPs from local record stores like Delta Breeze, Kicksville Vinyl & Vintage, and Eso-teric Records. Bartenders some-times play full albums during the day. You might hear the A- and B-sides of The Clash’s “Give ’Em Enough Rope,” The Growlers’ “Chinese Foun-tain” or Future Islands’ “Singles.” 

B-Side has a full bar but no kitchen. (You can bring in food or have it delivered.) There is no cocktail menu, but you can get an excellent Sazerac or a bottle of Coors Light with a shot of bourbon or rye. “B-Side is for whatever you want,” Boggs says. “No pretentiousness. It’s a neighborhood bar.” 1430 S St.; (916) 706-1830

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