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Historic beer hall now a sports bar
Chucks Place a Manteca sports bar just recently opened up in the former location of Luccas a central Manteca staple for decades. The site has been a bar since 1923. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

The bar at the corner of Oak and Vine Streets in the heart of Manteca looks out of place.

What had been known as Lucca’s for decades looks like the sort of neighborhood beer joint that you’d find in Philadelphia or Greenwich Village. Yet it was part of one of Manteca’s older neighborhoods for nearly 90 years after its doors first opened to customers.

And it’s in that history that Charles “Chuck” Hewitt believes he found a gem. He’s opted to lease the business from its previous owner and turn it into a quaint neighborhood sports bar that will take advantage of the misleading size of the corner building and its outside patio.

Of course having a built-in stream of regulars to provide an influx to Chuck’s Place doesn’t hurt either.

“People enjoy this place because there’s an older crowd that comes here – I’ve been here for three months and the youngest person I think that I’ve served has been 30,” said bartender Kim Hansen. “We get that laid-back after work crowd and it’s very relaxed. We control the music. There’s no drama.

“There aren’t any knives and there aren’t any guns – it’s just people coming in to socialize and have a drink after work.”

According to Hansen, Chuck’s Place will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. – a sharp departure from the hit-and-miss hours that the previous owner used to keep. And even then, she said, there was an aura of mystery surrounding the corner bar that only served beer and wine.

“It was kind of a hush-hush place, and it was kind of invite-only,” Hansen said – declining to elaborate. “Then it was only open a few days a week and a few hours a day – pretty much whenever the previous owner wanted to open the doors. Since Chuck took over on Sept. 12 we’ve been open every day.”

But when you get down to it, the new spot truly is a sports bar.

Hewitt just recently filed the necessary paperwork to secure his liquor license and turn the spot into a full-service bar.

A 110-inch screen sits in the back room behind the bar waiting for its chance to shine on Sundays. A pair of flat-screen TVs sitting atop the back of the bar broadcast sports highlights throughout the day.

Throw in drink specials, a full food menu offered every night of the week and a menu of activities including weekly poker tournaments with gift certificates as prizes and you’ve got a little bit of something for everybody.

A full back patio area with horseshoe pits is also available on-site.

The bar’s official grand opening celebration will take place on Friday, Sept. 30, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Drink specials and free food will be available and a DJ will be on-site providing music.

Chuck’s Place is located at 188 Oak Street at the corner of Oak and Vine. The site is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.