Palo Alto's long-standing sports bar The Old Pro to close June 19 | Peninsula Foodist | The Peninsula Foodist | Almanac Online |

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Palo Alto's long-standing sports bar The Old Pro to close June 19

Uploaded: Jun 2, 2022

The Old Pro is a beloved Palo Alto watering hole and sports bar. File photo.

Originally opening in 1964, The Old Pro has long served as Palo Alto's classic sports bar, even as Silicon Valley sprung up around it. The walls are covered by vintage pennants showcasing now-defunct teams like the World Football League's Philadelphia Bell and framed Sports Illustrated covers from an era when printing color photography required weeks of planning.

Later on, the bar also attracted crowds for late-night staples including its mechanical bull Bucky, beer towers and shotskis. Open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, The Old Pro has been one of the sleepy Midpeninsula's few spots for a late-night drink. On June 1, the business announced its permanent closure after its last day on June 19.

The (old) Old Pro opened under another name on El Camino Real near Page Mill Road and Oregon Expressway nearly 60 years ago, and Steve Sinchek purchased the business in 1994. He opened the second location of The Old Pro in downtown Palo Alto about a decade later, and the El Camino bar was shuttered in 2007 with one last blowout where its televisions were sold to patrons for $20.

Bucky the bull has taken on many challengers over the years. File photo.

The Old Pro's current spot meant relocating its dive bar environment to the trendier location of downtown Palo Alto in a space with floor-to-ceiling windows. Still, The Old Pro retained its classic sports memorabilia decor and continued hosting everyone from Little Leaguers to college students and venture capitalists. During major sporting events, the bar would come alive and transform into a space packed with hordes of fans decked out in the red, white and blue of U.S. soccer and the red and gold of the 49ers.

Sinchek pointed to the pandemic keeping work groups away and rising food, rent and labor costs as the main factors in the bar's closure in interviews with The Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle though he still operates the nearby Local Union 271. A statement on social media thanks community members and asks customers to share pictures and stories.

Hundreds of commenters have responded and started leaving memories. One patron recounted meeting her husband at the bar, and others pleaded for someone to come in and save the local institution. One follower joked and asked if she could get her fake ID back that was confiscated over a decade ago.

Palo Alto's other beloved longtime dive bar, Antonio's Nut House, closed in August 2020 after 50 years in business. The property owner recently submitted a new plan for reinventing the space. British Pub The Rose & Crown, which opened in 1990 (though the building had a long history as a local tavern), still serves drinks on Emerson Street.

If the series goes seven games, fans will be able to watch the last game of the NBA Finals at The Old Pro on its last day, Father's Day on June 19.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

The Old Pro, 541 Ramona St., Palo Alto; 650-326-1446. Instagram: @oldpro_sportsbar.

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What is it worth to you?


Posted by DTN Paul, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 2, 2022 at 6:15 pm

DTN Paul is a registered user.

This is a real bummer. Downtown Palo Alto will be a lot less interesting without the Old Pro. I look forward to welcoming another inexplicably empty rug merchant in its place.

Posted by Karen H, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Jun 2, 2022 at 6:51 pm

Karen H is a registered user.

That's so sad. My bachelor/bachelorette party was there - it was the perfect place as we had had many a fun evening there with friends, starting as Stanford students.

Posted by Claudette, a resident of Woodside,
on Jun 2, 2022 at 7:14 pm

Claudette is a registered user.

Gentrification kills another classic. Once it moved ....downhill from there.

Posted by Suzanne, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jun 2, 2022 at 8:04 pm

Suzanne is a registered user.

Another one bites the dust....Good Earth, Prolific Oven, Palo Alto Toy and Sports World, and the list goes on and on. So sad. Palo Alto is losing all its character,

Posted by RPopp, a resident of Monroe Park,
on Jun 3, 2022 at 11:58 am

RPopp is a registered user.

Many thanks to Steve and his team for a fun place and great times! Will definitely miss this!

Posted by PalyJim, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jun 5, 2022 at 10:37 am

PalyJim is a registered user.

In the longtime spirit of (both) Old Pro's - I can't stop, but I'm waving!

Posted by III, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 5, 2022 at 3:01 pm

III is a registered user.

I remember when Old Pro was owned by Paly Coach 1970-73, maybe longer.
Located a large metal quonset hut, approx El Camino and Oregon Expressway.
The hut must have been from 1940s!!! I also remember when I often went
there after work late 1980s was owned by two young guys. They had 100s of
baseball cards all over the walls. A main decor. Sawdust on the ground.
I gave them about 50 1970s baseball cards of semi value.
Wonder where they are. No not the two young men/owners the baseball cards LOL
Sadly just another chapter in my life closing forever.

Posted by Annette, a resident of College Terrace,
on Jun 7, 2022 at 11:06 am

Annette is a registered user.

The quonset hut was very cool and this closing is a bummer. A college town needs a place like the Old Pro.

Posted by Pat Markevitch, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 9, 2022 at 8:41 pm

Pat Markevitch is a registered user.

When I was a Paly student, one of the PE options was billiards. This entailed riding your bike down to the Quonset hut, shooting pool then biking back in time for your next class. While the biking portion was the actual exercise, it was a fun way to spend some school time.

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