Popular Occidental pub Barley and Hops Tavern reopens after abrupt closure

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Barley and Hops Tavern in Occidental has reopened thanks to a Santa Rosa investor who has bought half of the popular pub, noted for its craft beer selection and musical performances.

Mark Adams, president of the Whitestar Group, a Santa Rosa investigative services group, said he has purchased 50 percent of the business from owner Giancarlo Musso.

Adams said the funds were able to cover past-due rent payments and allowed it to re-open on July 13.

The tavern, located on Bohemian Highway, suddenly closed last month to the lament of locals in a tourist town with few restaurant options.

Original owners Noah and Mirjam Maggio opened the tavern nine years ago.

“It was packed over the weekend,” Adams said. “People were coming up and thanking me now it’s open again.”

Adams said he knew Musso through an investment group and was originally more interested in purchasing the Victorian building that houses the pub and restaurant.

“But a building needs a viable tenant,” he said. Adams said he intends to buy the building to keep the rent affordable.

Seth Harvey, the former chef at Backyard restaurant in Forestville, has been hired to revamp and upgrade the menu, which Adams said was too expensive for local residents.

For example, the fish and chips plate has been lowered from $18 to $15. A general manager also has been brought on board.

The tavern has about eight food items, but Adams said the goal is to get to 16 to 20 offerings in the future.

“We’re keeping the menu (cuisine) so it doesn’t conflict with other menus in town,” he said. “We aren’t doing Italian. We aren’t going to do pizzas.”

The beer selection also will remain the same and include brews from Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa.

The pub was noted as one of the few local places that annually received a keg of Russian River’s Pliny the Younger, the coveted triple India pale ale that goes on sale for two weeks every February.

Future plans include opening for breakfast Friday through Sunday, he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5223 or bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @BillSwindell.

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