There's no shortage of bars to choose from in Newport Beach or Costa Mesa. But if there's one place we could always count on for stiff drinks and sloppy good times on the dance floor, it was Pierce Street Annex. Hopefully you found yourself at the 17th street watering hole at some point this past weekend, if not, you won't have the opportunity again. On Sat. Jan 7 after everyone paid their tabs and the bouncers kicked them out, the doors closed permanently. And people are not happy about it.
"I don't come out a lot but when I do its fun to come here, so it's sad," says Jenna Etherington of Mission Viejo. "I will miss being able to come here and dance, they have good music."
Over the past 41 years the bar has changed hands, but the current owner Mario Marovic decided to shut it down while they make plans for a complete renovation for their new venue called The Country Club. Think more upscale, early 1900s country club, with a look and feel that wouldn't be out of place in "The Great Gatsby," Marovic told The Daily Pilot. The biggest change on tap is converting the establishment into a full-menu restaurant. While The Country Club will still offer music and dancing, Marovic told the Piolt those will be secondary to food and drinks. However, the folks who showed up last weekend seem to like the old bar way it is.
"It's completely changing the vibe," says local customer Alyssa Swatek. "From what I heard it's going to be like a country club type, which is complete opposite of what Pierce Street is right now, so we don't even know if we're gonna go to this next country club."
On a Friday or Saturday night you would always find the DJ played a combination of Top 40, old school hip-hop, and took song requests to keep people on the dance floor. He made sure to make special shout outs while you enjoyed your free birthday shot and your friends stood around you cheering. But if dancing wasn't your thing the three coin-operated pool tables made it easy to get a couple games in. The diverse crowd allowed comfort for almost anyone, even those who brought their own dinner to prepare themselves on the patio grill. A little nontraditional, but at least you never worried about your meal being cooked wrong.
"I love the diversity of the building," says Helen McBride of Costa Mesa. "You can play pool here, you can hangout outside and have a cigarette, you can go grab a drink inside and there's all ages [over 21] here. You never know what you're gonna have or who you're gonna meet at Pierce Street."
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When Pierce Street posted that the venue was officially closing on social media last Friday, instantly their page was flooded with stories about people's best memories, including their love stories that were sparked on the dance floor and friendships made. The talk of their epic Halloween parties will just be "remember whens" now, with no excitement for the years to come. One guy helped build the DJ booth in 1980 and has been married his co-worker from there for 35 years now, and he's not the only one.
"My parents met here and all their friends, everybody," says Kaitlyn Tona of Costa Mesa. "They come here all the time and I meet them for happy hour from time to time."
Photos from years ago at the bar were posted and many sad faces too, no one claimed to know the reason for the upcoming makeover but for one's favorite bar, that's irrelevant. The speculation is that the renovation will take at least eight months to complete. People say they love coming to Pierce Street and they don't want things to change, but even if their voices mattered it's too late anyway.
"I love fucking Pierce Street I mean it's the best spot around here," says Kyle Borrowman of Dana Point. "Pierce Street is the most awesome thing about this neighborhood, so it sucks. I mean do you want to come hang out at the country club? Cause I don't."