Bikes: As American as baseball and apple pie

IMG_0859The city of Sacramento, CA has a long and rich baseball history. And a big part of that history has traditionally been embodied by a dark yet friendly little corner of the world known as Joe Marty’s bar. The walls of the bar were lined with historic portraits of baseball players and pictures of the old baseball diamond that used to sit right around the corner where the Target is today.

Unfortunately the landmark establishment was hit with a kitchen fire in 2005 and sat vacant for a decade. Then two local businessmen decided to resurrect the name at the same location. And that brings us to why I’m talking about this on a cycling blog…

Before the fire, when I was a Sacramento resident, Joe Marty’s was on my short list of favorite bars. I’d known about the fire, but didn’t know that it had reopened. When I was back in Sacramento recently for the North American Hand Made Bike Show, I decided to check out the newly renovated place with my son.

When we walked in the door, one of the staff greeted us. As I was gazing about the place, she made a comment about the bicycle tattoos I have on my arm. That lead to a quick, impromptu conversation about bicycle, and then she said something that I completely didn’t expect…

She drew my attention to a TV mounted above the bar. The TV was dedicated to displaying live security camera footage of… the bike rack outside. This immediately struck me as so simple, yet so brilliant.


I had to know more. I reached out to the business and was able to talk to reach the owners, for a quick email interview:

JustAnotherCyclist: What is your name, and what is your role at Joe Marty’s?
Joe Marty’s: Jack Morris and Devon Atlee, owners
JAC: How long have you be associated with Joe Marty’s?
JM’s: …we just opened two months ago
JAC: The decor and ambience of the interior is true to the baseball influence that is central to Joe Marty’s history. However, among the big screens with baseball games is also a TV with a very different view from all the others. Can you tell us about that TV?
 JM’s: We actual added the bike racks to the parking lot just before we opened. We added an outside camera so our customers could sit at the bar have a drink or some food and not have to worry about anyone messing with the bikes.. so far a great addition.
Security cameras keeping a watchful eye on the bike parking at Joe Marty's
Security cameras keeping a watchful eye on the bike parking at Joe Marty’s

JAC: A security camera displayed above the bar specifically for the cyclists isn’t something that is very common. What inspired Joe Marty’s to do this? JM’s: We did it for the neighborhood . At night [the] camera on the TV shows up just like you were watching in the day time.

JAC: When I visited Joe Marty’s, the staff recognized me as a “bike guy” by the bicycles tattooed on my arm. They are the ones that pointed out the security camera to me. Is this something staff are encouraged to actively promote?
JM’s: Yes. it has been a conversation piece for the staff and customers.
JAC: Does Joe Marty’s enjoy a significant amount of patronage from folks that ride their bikes in?
JM’s: Now that the weather is getting nice we are seeing more and more people riding over from the neighborhoods.
JAC: Any suspicious activity at the bike racks been caught and averted because of the cameras?
JM’s: Not so far.
JAC: Anything else you’d like to say to the cyclists living in, or visiting, Sacramento?
JM’s: We have enough bike parking space for 20 plus bikes. Baseball season is starting up and we will have the MLB baseball package. The River Cats [local Sacramento AAA baseball club] will also shuttle people to and from Joe Martys every Thursday for RiverCats home game. stay tuned!!

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JAC: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. I know that I’ll be stopping by on my bike for a pint and more of those street tacos next time I’m in Sacramento!

Joe Marty’s Bar & Grille is located in Sacramento’s Land Park neighborhood in the Tower Theater complex at 1500 Broadway. And yes – I really do recommend the tacos.