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Memories of The Bodega

Those were the days. As for the Spot, it's a nice place, never looked better. "I'll be back."

Yesterday meeting with the owners of , Jarred Gallo and Aaron Crites brought back classic memories for me of the past.

Smokey Mountain, then Puma’s and of course, there was The Bodega. My experience was absolute awesome from 1979 to 1984, managing and promoting the heavy-metal rock band TSUNAMI.

The band played at the Bodega many times.

The Bodega was incredible: acts such as Bonnie Riatt, Y&T, Ronnie Montrose, Tommy Johnston from Doobie Brothers, Elvin Bishop, just to name a few, and funny thing, the Bodega was just so simple.

Mainstays and existed then and are still going strong today.

The opinions expressed here are the blogger's and not necessarily those of the local editor's or anyone affiliated with Patch.

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Cathy Weselby September 03, 2011 at 09:46 PM
Hi Rene, I have fond memories of The Bodega too! I wrote a story about it a couple of years ago and met one of its founders: http://mytown.mercurynews.com/archives/campbellreporter/20070824/news4.shtml Cathy
Joe Hernandez September 03, 2011 at 11:54 PM
Hi Rene, Sounds like of fun back in the day...out of curiosity, did you live in Campbell or more importantly did you live within 1-2 blocks of The Bodega? No doubt the current owners of The Spot would like to bring back the good ol' days but I think you'll find that the Campbell police department and downtown residents have a different not so fond memory of the Bodega and now The Spot as well.
Rene Duenas September 06, 2011 at 05:27 PM
Hello Joe, Unfortunately, your assumptions are full of rhetoric; Not once did I ever see the Campbell Police Department @ the Bodega... Furthermore, the key is to work together and find solutions rather than badger the nightspots without a plan. Part of the Downtown core is the ambiance which includes the nightlife. From the Bodega to the present (35+ years) the night life continues to be a huge part of Downtown Campbell. Anyone purchasing real estate in the immediate area understands this, and is disclosed that the area has parades, has festivals, has farmers market, has a wine-walk, has restaurants, has shops, and has nightspots.
Dan B May 11, 2012 at 03:53 PM
HAHAHAHA... "Not once did I ever see the Campbell Police..." My Dad owned the place and started the 'Prune Pit Annex' which later he sold to Ken Rominger who started The Bodega... and later it was sold to Steve Thomas and crew who turned it into a real nightclub. No Campbell Police 'at' the Bodega... No they didn't show up because they were a little overwhelmed by the crowds. I do remember Ken hiring a nearly 7ft 400 lb Native American bouncer named simply 'Chief' who was the door man because the Angels used to hang there. No trouble... HAHAHAHA... ( by the way I used to clean up the bar for my Dad and hung out there and so I am VERY privy to the goings on ). Too much fun... Great music... Great scene... but part of the 70's Rock scene was the violence and drugs. Joe Cocker, Eddie Money, Pat Benatar, the Tubes, the Ohio Players, Elvin Bishop, Iron Butterfly, Jesse Colin Young, Greg Kihn, Bo Diddley and Commander Cody... Nope... no violence or drugs at shows like that in the 70's ( right ) The Bodega wasn't a 'Fern Bar' folks... it 'stank' of true Rock n Roll
Les Haskell September 24, 2012 at 06:54 AM
I remember leaving the Bodega one night in the late 70s. Went around the block and was driving through downtown and somebody else who left the Bodega was coming up the street from the Bodega and he didn't stop at the stop sign and we crashed and spun around and took out the little white fence and hit the house on the corner. Totaled both cars and the cops were there in seconds (from just around the corner). Next time I went through there, there was a traffic light. Glad I could help with downtown improvement.
STEVEN BUTLER November 10, 2012 at 02:02 AM
STEVE BUTLER I was one of the bartenders at the Bodega when Ken Rominger owned the place during he 70's. He and Cindy were great to work for! It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life...I just wish I could remember it all! Live, loud rock and roll every night with an name band on Thursday nights. Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Ramons, Pat Benatar, Pablo Cruise on and on and on... Bikers, babes, great drinks, cold beer and great rock and roll....What a time we had! Did the cops show up at the Bodega...You bet your ass they did! Between The Bodega and Smokey Mountain (I worked there too) the Campbell Police were there nearly every night and knew us by name! I could go on and on....I have great memories of those times. In fact I'm stil in touch with several of my coworkers from those days.
Tish Kerrigan January 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM
Yeah that was back when drinking and driving was ok and most folks didnt have car insurance so if everyone involved was agreeable ...no problem. a different world.... Bodega provided some great music on Thursdays. the place was packed when The Doobie Brothers or Elvin bishop performed, My favorite hang out in the "70's"
Jona Denz-Hamilton March 22, 2013 at 11:00 PM
I often picture going back in time to hang out at the Bodega or the Smokey Mountain. There were so many shows I enjoyed there including Pat Benatar's Bay Area debut. Too bad I can't remember 'em all; a friend reminded me how I helped Maria Muldaur pin her blouse strap back together one night! It was a great way to wake up before my late-night shift on KOME!
Danna March 31, 2013 at 04:02 AM
I managed the Bodega From 1980 to 1987 with Steve Thomas. By the time Steve got in there the place had cleaned up it's act. I have to say it was a blast getting paid to put on concerts and meet all the great people I met over the years, both the famous and the everyday locals. Rene, I have to say Tsunami was one of the few bands I had to know where the main volume control was on the sound board. I think I even turned the stage power off on them once or twice. Tsunami had great musicians, just loud. lol Great memories and I thank everyone for the memories and kind words. Unfortunately there will never be another Bodega. Such an intimate setting with the big names, packed elbow to elbow with dancing in the aisles. Just a memory now. We did have a reunion in 2011 with Snail and many of the past employees in Santa Cruz. It was so fun to see everyone. Maybe we will do it again in a couple years.
Robert Fudge April 27, 2013 at 04:17 AM
I was the head bouncer there around 70 to 71. Another life another world great memories. Hot Tuna, John Lee Hooker, Cold Blood, great music. I actually liked when the hells angles were there it seemed like there were fewer fights.
Jena Chavez May 01, 2013 at 02:38 AM
Sorry, a bit off topic, but thought maybe you guys would know. :) Do any of you remember the burger place that was on Hamilton Ave in the 70s, dark brown building, across from where Mervyns was? It was Heftys or something similar? Trying to remember the name! Thanks :)
Vicki Nagy February 28, 2014 at 11:49 PM
i remember having so so so much fun early 80'S with my cousin LENA, thank u cuz and leroy, and frankie!

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