One year in business is an accomplishment in itself, but during a pandemic year that's something else entirely. So it's understandable that Rock & Wings in northeast Bakersfield wants to celebrate, which it will do Saturday with an anniversary bash with live music, DJs, specials and more.
"The first year was weird," said co-owner Miguel Sanchez. "Originally we were supposed to open the eastside location in February or March (2020). We took over the property in October 2019. The plan was to open around March and that's when we shut everything down."
Sanchez, along with business partners Nelly Sanchez (no relation) and her husband, Adrian Castillo, stayed in a holding pattern for a few months, eventually focusing on their makeshift patio to open in July.
"We did a soft opening that remained a soft opening," he said.
"We had this place that we were really proud of but we couldn't show it off."
Like the trio's original Rock & Wings on White Lane, which opened in 2017, the northeast location has a definite rock vibe but on a bigger scale.
The decor includes tinted windows, black walls and custom tabletops, each featuring a different rock band. There's even a 1974 modified VW bus with a sunroof that opens up to reveal a flat-screen TV, speakers and a light show for parties and catering. On its side are taps to pour beverages.
In the fall, when restaurants were allowed to serve guests indoors, they got to work on making an actual patio out back.
"It was basically an old parking lot. We put concrete out there with railing and it's a real patio. It looks very nice."
Rock & Wings is now fully operational, hosting English rock and Spanish rock bands on Thursdays and Saturdays and hosting karaoke on Fridays.
This Saturday's event will be a chance to celebrate with supporters.
"We want to show appreciation for the people who have been there for us," Sanchez said.
The entire space will be utilized for Saturday's event. Sanchez, who performs as DJ Mickey Rock, will take the stage inside at 4 p.m. DJ Darth Smalls will perform on the patio at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m., Mento Buru will bring its Latin ska sounds to the main stage.
"We're really excited to be part of the celebration," Matt Munoz, the band's vocalist, wrote in an email. "The work and energy the staff has put into making the venue one of the most welcoming spots for local bands is something Bakersfield should also be excited about."
Munoz said the band has wanted to play the venue since he got a tour from Nelly Sanchez while the venue was under construction.
"The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the big stage and sound system," he wrote. "She asked if we'd be interested in performing someday. That was last year. Now it's finally time to throw a party and show them some love."
Micheladas and tacos will be served on the patio all day long. Specials will include mix-and-match buckets of cold beers for $25. Guests can also order the namesake hot wings or other items from the menu.
The bash kicks off at 4 p.m. at Rock & Wings, 2858 Niles St. Admission is free. For more information, visit facebook.com/RNWrockeros661east.