Tuesday Jul 06 2010
Penryn’s landmark Valencia Club bar shuttered
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Like the clip-clop sound of tires on granite-gray sections of Taylor Road cement that have remained rock-solid since the middle of the last century, the Valencia Club had stood the test of time and flourished. That all changed for the Penryn landmark when it shut down on Memorial Day – the first time in living memory that the rural Placer County community’s only bar has closed for an extended period of time. “It’s really said,” former Valencia Club waitress Maggie Pennington said Tuesday. “It’s a good ol’ working man’s bar.” Before the closure the Valencia Club was popular with bikers during days and came alive with music at two different bars – one for the hip-hop crowd and another for people who liked country and rock – when weekends arrived. This past weekend, the club’s distinctive neon sign was turned off and its doors were closed. Signs on the windows said the bar would reopen soon under new management. “It’s a landmark,” said Rob Johnson of Trailhead Coffee & Cycling Lounge. The lounge is located across English Colony Way from a building that many locals call simply “The VC.” The coffee shop was once the gas station portion of a bar-and-service-station stop built to cater to traffic along what was once Highway 40 – the precursor of Interstate 80 over the Donner Summit. “The community at large deserves something unique that works. It’s a unique place from times gone by,” Johnson said. Penryn’s Deborah Valentino said she’s fascinated by the sometimes-dark history of the building – a reputation that has spawned ghost hunter Paul Dale Roberts to declare last year that paranormal activity is taking place inside the Valencia Club. The stories include hauntings by a woman in white and its whispered reputation as a former speakeasy or even house of prostitution. Deni Mason, owner of Deni’s Hair and Nail Designs in Penryn, said she first visited the Valencia Club in the late 1980s and as far as she has heard, it had never been closed down before. “It’s like a beacon of light for the community,” Mason said. Pennington, who has been out of work since shortly before the bar closed, blamed the closure on owners not knowing the area and instituting innovations such as cover charges that nearby residents weren’t willing to pay. “I hope and pray someone will make good with this bar,” Pennington said. The Valencia Club closure marks the second closure of a licensed nightspot in two months in the Auburn area. The Power Club, which opened in March 2009, closed in May. Work inside the Valencia Club building had been seen taking place last week. But calls to the building’s owner were not returned Tuesday.