• WHAT: Shively’s Bar and Grill
• WHERE: 1061 Valley Home Road, Oakdale
• WHAT YOU’LL FIND: A wide variety of craft beers are offered at the bar, and an extensive menu – anchored by fried fish during the summer – provides a great chance to grab something to eat.
• TO GET THERE: Take Highway 120 East from the Highway 99 though Escalon. The restaurant and bar will be on the left hand side – at the intersection with Valley Home Road (also a route to get to Woodward Reservoir.)
• FOR MORE INFO: Contact the restaurant at (209) 847-2877
OAKDALE – It doesn’t look much like an eating or drinking establishment.
The building, for all intents and purposes, is a WWII Quonset hut that seems like it could use a fresh coat of paint. And even though it’s located on a highway that draws thousands of people every weekend on their way up to Yosemite National Park, you almost don’t know that the building is there.
No, Shively’s Bar and Grill isn’t exactly the radiating jewel that draws in customers just because it’s pretty.
But if you ask any of the customers that frequent the establishment – it’s a popular spot with Escalon and Oakdale residents – they’ll tell you that it’s the “diamond in the rough” that is incredibly hard to find today.
And eating and drinking is exactly what they serve up.
The entire wall behind the bar looks like a competition between brewers to make the craftiest tap handle possible – sharks competing with hockey pucks competing with the traditional wooden handles you’d find in an English pub.
There’s almost always a cup or two covering one of the taps because the well has run dry.
But Shively’s has one of the largest draft beer offerings that you’ll find in the Central Valley. That draws in not only thirsty construction workers looking for a cold one on the way home from work, but also craft beer enthusiasts that want a good pour. Nearly 40 beers are offered up.
Then there’s the fish.
On Friday evenings during the summer the restaurant offers up fried catfish in a fun and friendly party atmosphere that has made even people from outside of the area staunch converts to the restaurants unique charm.
On the popular restaurant and business rating site Yelp, Shively’s got a five star review from an Emeryville resident who finally had the chance to stop in on one of the Catfish Fridays and found the beer selection to be “epic.”
“More than anything, this feels like Central California,” he wrote.
That kind of stuff is just icing on the cake.
The bar already has a steady customer base in local residents that frequent the joint, and traffic during both the summer and winter months help add a boost to the overall bottom-line.
But there are no neon signs. There are no attempts 10 miles away to get people to stop in and try their food.
It is what it is, and so far reputation alone has been able to carry Shively’s.
“It’s one of those places that’s just always been here,” Dean Jantzen said. “You kind of take for granted what it is that they have – a lot of good beers. But it’s not flashy like other places and I think that’s why a lot of people like it.”
— JASON CAMPBELL
209 staff reporter