Flamingos are having a moment in Sacramento. A few weeks ago, flamingo chicks hatched at the Sacramento Zoo for the first time in 18 years. And now a hip, eccentric lounge named after the long-legged birds has soft-opened in midtown Sacramento.
The Flamingo House Social Club has moved into the 2315 K St. spot that once held Garden to Grill vegan café. Veteran bartenders Matt Byrd (Dive Bar) and Bobby Falcon (MiX Downtown, San Francisco’s Infusion Lounge) have turned entrepreneurs with this venture inside an old house that Byrd and Falcon painted pink.
The Flamingo House offers a full bar and some food. During the soft-opening phase, the craft-cocktail list, food menu and business hours are limited. Flamingo House opens at 6 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.
With help from designer Dacy Kolsky, Falcon and Byrd (who is also a visual artist) transformed the building’s interior into what might result if the Golden Girls, Tony Montana and the “Miami Vice” cops moved in together so they could more easily pursue their shared love of thrift-store shopping.
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One seating area features wallpaper of a bold floral design, and fake flowers on the ceiling. Another gathering spot is more serene ‑ with pale pink walls and a cozy, vintage-looking sofa.
Chandeliers that evoke bird feathers provide most of the illumination inside the dimly lit space, which on Thursday evening offered cool relief from the Sacramento heat.
“Me and (Falcon) love bars and nightclubs,” Byrd said while behind the bar on Thursday evening. “And we have been working in them and hanging out in them for so long (that) you look at the things that are missing from places, and all the things that are working in places. ... and you start to study what is happening, and what you would want. After a while, you feel obligated to open a place.”
“Especially a place that is more female-forward,” Falcon added. “Not not just attracting a bunch of guys sitting there watching TV and chugging beers.” On Thursday night, there were more women than men at Flamingo House, which by 8 p.m. already had drawn a significant crowd.
Flamingo House’s roomy front patio also is open for business, with dogs welcome, Falcon said. The owners plan to eventually open the back patio at well.
Falcon said they are aiming the vibe to be a combination of relaxed and coastal and “just midtown.” The Flamingo House joins two other recently opened, heavily designed midtown spots – Jungle Bird and Midtown’s Cantina Alley – in showcasing atmosphere as much as drink and food.
But the food and drink we sampled at Flamingo House Thursday night still made an impression. We liked the fruit tartness and alcohol bite of the $11 “Watermelon Strawberry Bulleit Rye Smash” cocktail but were even more impressed by the way the grilled bread hugged braised pork and other contents of the $14 “Cubano panini,” which came with a side of potato salad pleasantly spiked by paprika. Steve Herrera, who has worked in the kitchens of Amaro Bistro & Bar and Shady Lady, is in charge of food.
Sacramento’s long-awaited Midtown's Cantina Alley finally has opened to the public, and it is unlike any other place in the city. The open-air cantina sits at 2320 Jazz Alley, in between J and K and 23rd and 24th streets.Carla Meyer The Sacramento Bee