R and S are for R15 and Shady Lady, Respectively





R15 and Shady Lady
R Street bewtween 14th & 15h
Downtown Sacramento

Just past the halfway point of the ABC’s of Drinking in Sacramento, I’ve picked up momentum by finding bars that both share a block and are alphabetically sequential.

This is the first time I’ve combined two ABC’s of Drinking stops into one and I kinda a feel bad about that, but I figure if all of you are anything like me than you’re not gonna hit one of these spots without hitting the other.

Nick on the Town has had R15 picked out as the R stop for a while now, but the Shady Lady is a newcomer that booted Socal’s or the Swiss Buda out of the ABC’s of Drinking by being so darned convenient.

The block of R street between 15th and 14th has really come together recently. What was once mostly just an empty brick building is now chock full of retail establishments at least four of which sell adult beverages.

Anyhow, let’s start with R15.

R15, whose name is right on the nose with its address, fills a great niche in town. It’s respectable and hip enough for those with discerning bar tastes, but it’s also cheap and unpretentious enough to attract dive-bar regulars. Real middle of the road.r1522

Also, it’s big:  There’s the main bar, the pool room, the little living room nooks, the front patio and its (conjoined twin) sister restaurant Cafe Bernardo from which you can order food.

R15 has a great happy hour with $2 wells and domestic beer from 3pm-7pm. This time, however, I was not there for happy hour and my cocktails were still only $3. Not too shabby. Oh, I should also mention that on Tuesdays, happy hour goes like all day long. Don’t me hold me to that, but I think it’s right.

One time a friend and I challenged my favorite and second favorite waitresses to arm wrestle each other and we bet on them like they were race horses. If you can make that happen, I encourage you to do so. Good times.

R15 Highlights
* Big bar with plenty o’ room
* Fairly decent patio area
* Bar menu plus all of Cafe Bernardo’s menu
* Light Rail stop nearby (it’s not as inconvenient as you think)

Stick to wells and domestic beer and you’re good to go. Top shelf brings you to at least $6 a pop, but is it really worth it? What are you trying to prove?

Real middle of the road. You’ll see everyone here at one point or another.

Now for a short walk down the block to the new Shady Lady – which, if it followed the same naming scheme as R15 would be R14.

Upon walking in to the Shady Lady I was greeted by velvet wallpaper, flapper girls and like a million old-timey cocktail options. It’s all part of the bar’s 1920’s speakeasy theme which is amusing for the patrons, but will probably eventually drive the staff crazy.

In the center of the room is a large u-shaped bar from which suspender-wearing bartenders serve up libations most folks have long forgotten about. I went with the Horse’s Neck which is a delicious combination of ginger syrup and bourbon garnished with a fancy lemon peel spiral thingy. Other options include the Dark & Stormy, the Singapore Sling, the Rusty Nail and dozens more.horseneck3

Bartenders definitely earn their tips here. Someone who skillfully works with all the bar accessories and garnishes needed to make Shady Lady’s quality cocktails deserves more than the chump who just pops the cap off your Bud Light.


My Horse’s Neck was a good looking cocktail and it looked even better in such a good looking bar. They definitely didn’t do this one on the cheap. The bar has a classic look with dark woods, brass fixtures, high ceilings and those awesome booths which line the walls.

The food looked good too…specifically the fried chicken and mac & cheese balls. Sadly, I did not partake.

There is also a stage which I haven’t seen in use yet, but which has the potential to please the crowd with appropriately-themed jazz music.

Shady Lady Highlights
* Great atmosphere
* Mugs of Olympia for $2
* That fried chicken looked real good
* Not a fancy-pants “euro lounge”or anything modern. Classic all the way.

* Old-timey cocktails run like $7 or $8. Cheapos like me will stick mainly to the $2 mug of beer.


It’s hard to say since it’s only been open a few weeks. Seems pretty middle of the road though. I think you’ll be happy there.

It should be mentioned that between R15 and Shady Lady you will also find the new Magpie Cafe, Burgers & Brews (by Crepeville), the Empire and a fancy hair salon. It’s a real strong block.

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