The colorful new spot will open on Saturday, September 11, with How We Roll, a cannabis and stoner art show featuring around thirty artists, live music, a silent disco and food trucks. According to venue founder Kourisa CdeBaca, it will be the first of many art-themed shows and gatherings at River, which occupies the former location of a longtime dive, the Welcome Inn.
CdeBaca announced her plan for River in February, after leasing the property from a relative who owns the land. "It's an amazing opportunity, and I'm ready to turn this place around," she said at the time.
Nearly seven months later, CdeBaca is now ready to show off the transformation. She reached out to local artists to help spruce up the building and hired a curator with plans to hold new exhibitions on the first Friday of every month. Fam Bam Productions will help plan the shows as well as daytime events such as yoga and wellness classes and podcast recordings.
"To say we're an artists' bar is an understatement, because not all artists paint," she explains.
For the inaugural show, River recruited such local artists as Matador, Patrick McGregor, Rob Dog Exclusive, Mythik, Jbird, Zeek Vasquez, Omega Marcusus, Fractal Dabber, 2Tongues and many more; some of CdeBaca's work will also be displayed. Pieces include homages to smoking, acrylic paintings of Scooby-Doo and Clifford the Big Red Dog, and a hilarious piece of South Park's Towelie by Matador. Guests will be able to purchases pieces from the participating artists.
"We left it up to the artists to do this however they want, but most of them use spray paint, hand paint, and we have some photographers," she says.
"Cannabis has always been something that's been friendly around here. Since we've been getting ready to open, we wanted it to be involved in what we do," she explains. "We're definitely open to working with the cannabis space."
Although River's original plans haven't totally panned out — CdeBaca initially wanted to open in April with a thirty-tap draught system — she's excited to share her cocktail-centric drink menu, the bar's ’60s and ’70s vibes, and some art that will be more permanently displayed throughout the property.
The September 11 launch party will have a silent disco, food trucks and various vendors in River's outside space, with live music inside, according to Fam Bam CEO Adrian Garcia. The food trucks and vendors will start setting up around noon, with music and the art show expected to begin around 6 p.m.