Rudy's Pub prepares for last round

Downtown fixture looks to close on Jan. 1, reopen elsewhere

While new offices get ready to open their doors in downtown Palo Alto, a long-standing University Avenue bar is preparing to say goodbye.

Rudy's Pub, a downtown fixture for more than 50 years, plans to close its doors on Jan. 1 and reopen in a different location sometime in 2014. The pub, which is located near Alma Street, was described by one customer as a throwback to the 1960s.

"I don't go for fancy," said the customer, a self-described regular who would only say his first name was Joe. "Rudy's has everything I need. They know me. I know them. Just grab me a beer."

Pub owner Megan Kawkab said some her "regulars" have been coming to Rudy's for 45 years.

"I'm going to miss this place. I know every square inch of every nook and cranny," Kawkab said.

But she also expressed optimism.

"We hope to reopen just down the street in six months, maybe less. I can't tell you exactly where yet, but it will be on University Avenue," she said.

Rudy's closure is coming at a time when downtown is going through a building boom and rising property values. It is located about a block away from the site of the recently approved Lytton Gateway building, a four-story development that will stand on 101 Alma, at the corner of Lytton.

The pub's Facebook page notes that the rent on the block have doubled and that "offices are moving in, so it's time to start something new."


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Posted by Jarivs
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 30, 2013 at 10:43 am

Did you ask the owner what impact the opening of The Patio around the corner has had on Rudy's?

It would seem as though the owner cannibalized its own business by opening another competing bar right around the corner. Was this her plan? Or just an unintended result combined with higher rent?

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Posted by TimH
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 30, 2013 at 11:05 am

Rudy's is a great place. I hope that they will have the opportunity to reopen soon on University, but in Palo Alto business that is sadly uncertain. I hope that they are not outbid on rent level by narcissistic "real estate developers" or a new "business" in search of a vanity address to attain a higher burn rate while crowding the sidewalks with more people using their smart device as a lunch guide. Good luck, Rudy's; rooting for you.

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Posted by Polento
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Dec 30, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Rudy's is a dump and I am glad to see it go. Their Germain restaurant converted nightly into a dance floor is nothing short of say. Please go and never come back.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Although Rudy's was never a favorite of mine, it will be missed by many Palo Altans. There was a time downtown offered us some very lively night life--Henry's, 42nd Street, the Gatehouse, Rudy's, the Varsity, Madellana's, and many, many, more.

Sadly, the Council has turned the downtown over to their developer friends. Downtown doesn't belong to us (the residents) any longer.

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Posted by stretch
a resident of another community
on Dec 30, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Isn't Rudy's in the same place as the old Tangent and Free University? I;m not able to picture Rudy's being there for "more than 50 years".

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Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 30, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Palo Alto would be pretty vanilla without places like Rudy's and Antonio's Nut House. I hope Rudy's is able to reopen, and soon.

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 30, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Who says the downtown doesn't belong to us? There are more independently owned businesses in downtown than there are national chains and there is more retail than there is restaurant, although that's not the perception.

I always think that the people who say downtown is no longer for those who live in Palo Alto haven't been there lately. It seems pretty god to me.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2013 at 4:28 pm

> Who says the downtown doesn't belong to us?

I do.

You point to the prevalence of locally-owned retail as proof that downtown still belongs to Palo Altans. Well, how do you know where the owners of each of the businesses to which you refer actually live? Or are you just comparing small businesses against chains?

> Henry's, 42nd Street, the Gatehouse, Rudy's, the Varsity, Madellana's,
> and many, many, more

The examples offered were bar/restaurants where people were able to meet and greet. Can you hang out at any of the retail businesses you are talking about? All of the aforementioned places helped to create a social ambiance that no longer exists downtown, at least at night.

And given the disruption of the Internet in terms of entertainment, and e-commerce--it's not clear how useful retail in the downtown area is, or will be, in the future.

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Posted by paly mom
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 30, 2013 at 8:14 pm

More office buildings and Spanish styled McMansions please! This way every town will look the same and at last we will all be equal.

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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm

I'm with Joe above ... I miss 42nd street. I used to go there and shoot the breeze with a good friend of mine while going to school. We loved their cheap pina colada's. A step up from the regular bars I never go to bars now since 42nd St. closed. So ... don't care much about Rudy's and never particularly much impressed by the giant unruly crowd outside it every night often needing two police cars to manage.

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Posted by Marie
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 30, 2013 at 10:30 pm

I would love to calculate how much police budget will be saved by the disappearence of this joint. I will not be missing it at all!

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Posted by Jessica
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 31, 2013 at 7:37 am

I'm glad to see this place shut down. [Portion removed.] They would limit the number of Latino and African-American people from coming in nightly. So sad! The manager would try to enforce dress code and say you needed to be "dressed up" or "more formal." But as soon as a Stanford kid in flip flops, cargo shorts and a t-shirt walked up they'd give them a free pass! Many of my friends and I have witnessed this for years. The manager of the night club should be ashamed. Again, I'm glad to see this place go. We need businesses that are welcoming to all people.

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Posted by iChrisD
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 31, 2013 at 9:12 am

Totally agree with Joe. We need to start showing up at council meetings and stop the over development of downtown with office buildings. I grew up between manhattan beach and Palo Alto. I watched the city council of manhattan beach destroy the quaint hometown feel of MB and now I'm seeing it happen again here in PA and it saddens me. Where are the Liddicoats? 42nd Streets? Do we really want another office building or hotel? I don't want to see old buildings torn down and monstrosities built on every block downtown. We need to take back our city, stop this political redevelopment and vote out council members who don't listen to the voices of the citizens they "represent."

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 31, 2013 at 9:53 am

I have lived here all my life (except for college years). My Grandfather graduated from Paly. Long gone are the one and two story buildings that were just about all focused on goods and services for residents. PA is no longer a college is a small city and that's not going to change.

The question is how development and growth can be better managed so that residents can still feel that PA is their "home town". Certainly requiring new downtown buildings to provide first floor retail and that the buildings are 100% parked is a start. If and when further development beyond University Avenue happens, the CC needs to ensure that they keep it away from our neighborhoods - maintain zoning as is. 27 University Avenue should not be built as submitted. No waivers. No PC zoning.

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Posted by Sean
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 31, 2013 at 12:02 pm

"They would limit the number of Latino and African-American people from coming in nightly. So sad!"

Jessica, there is truth in what you say. Rudy's has long been a night spot that attracts Blacks and Latinos, fewer Whites. On the other hand, Antonio's Nut House attracts mostly Whites. Is this because Rudy's is a dance joint at night, one that plays music that is favorable with Blacks and/or Latinos (i.e. not country or honkytonk or depresso stuff)?

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Posted by Charles
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Dec 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Rudy's has had it's ups and downs, but sad to see it go. It the last place in Palo Alto that has a dance floor. (The Patio doesn't count because there is no room to dance on the concrete floor). As a 4th Generation Palo Altan / Mayfieldian and as a 23 year dance veteran, I think Palo Alto needs to have a place to dance. Spending my new years eve at Rudy's and I am going to hit that dancefloor one last time!! Happy New Years everyone! Good Luck Rudy's!

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Posted by curious
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Where do Stanford students go for some nightlife? Is it necessary to go up to S.F.? (that's my guess....)

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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Didn't Jerry Garcia play at Rudy's? Palo Alto is losing part of its
history. The rich history of Palo Alto, in its many facets is being
washed away in an uncontrolled office construction mania and follow-on conversions to office space.

The transformation of the Downtown is being driven by the cumulative effects of oversized bland office buildings which look like they were transplanted from an office park on Lawrence Expy. These projects have no sense of place, are disrespectful of their location in Downtown Palo Alto- Lytton Gateway, 278 University at Bryant, 317 University at the old Medallion Rug, etc. In the recent past we got at least architecturally interesting buildings which look like they belong in a Downtown and not an office park, like 428 University, the Accel Partners Bldg, 535 Cowper, where Cal Pizza Kitchen is, 100 Hamilton, the Palantir Bldg.,325 Lytton, the Jive Software Bldg.

This period we are witnessing in Palo Alto is so completely destructive of this City in terms of architecture, loss of character,displacement of businesses, mounting traffic and parking impacts which were ignored, it is absolutely shocking and historic in its own right for these reasons.

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Posted by Riff Raff
a resident of another community
on Jan 1, 2014 at 7:47 am

Rudy's was my living room from 1981 till I moved at the end of 1996. The place had class and culture (Just look in the beer glass, culture was growing at the bottom). Met some of my best friends there!..I used to drop in after work, sit at the bar reading a book and drinking beer, my two favorite hobbies at the time. I will miss the place!

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Posted by jb
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 1, 2014 at 4:44 pm

I went to Rudy's once, when it was a restaurant, Rudyard's. But I was glad to see it stay for so long, and I suspected that there was a community inside. But non-chain, individually run businesses of all sorts are biting the dust. The owners may offer a good experience or a rich assortment of merchandise, but the landlord has chain aspirations for income. There is a rhythem of 3 to 5 years for a business and then they disappeaar. Landlord has doubled the rent. Landlord knows that Palo Alto property is gold within the entire world of real estate. Someone will appear who thinks (s)he can make the rent and still excell in some business. And the City of PA, no doubt, appreciates the increase in taxes thus generated. University Art is also moving out, and for me, there is now no reason at all to go downtown again. Oops, no, there is still Bell's Books.

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 1, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Rudys was one of the most strictly run bars and rarely had any trouble that required police action - anyone who says differently needs to do their homework before they go running their mouths. You should miss it... The owners kept a tight reign on that place. Or have you forgotten Q's and Blue Chalk? THOSE were bars that needed to be closed. When is the last time a murder happened at Rudy's???? When is the last time something awful happened at Rudys??? You just want chain establishments all throughout PA with suits. Palo Alto is made up of more than people who wear suits. Rudy's had a strict dress code and strict behavior rules. It was not a thug bar at night. The owner didn't let anyone in who sagged their pants, had a hat on, wore timberland boots.... If it was thug - it didn't go in - I saw him turn away people wearing a couple thousand dollar 'thug outfits' - He treated everyone equally. I'm white, I went there plenty.... There was an even amount of every race that went to Rudys. All of you people bad mouthing it need to take a step back and compare it to other bars (like Blue Chalk and Q's). You won't know what you're losing until it's gone. Rudy's closing is a sad day for Palo Alto.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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