Preserving 19th Hole's history the 'main objective'

Aug 4, 2008
 By Jeff Gatlin

The front of the 19th Hole in Tres Pinos, which is now serving "booze and food" after nine weeks of renovations.
Photo by: Jeff Gatlin
Old photos and posters from the original bar hang from the walls at the 19th Hole in Tres Pinos.
Photo by: Jeff Gatlin
Old photos and posters from the original bar hang from the walls at the 19th Hole in Tres Pinos.
Photo by: Jeff Gatlin

The 19th Hole in Tres Pinos is now serving "booze and food" once again - as the menu puts it - after nine weeks of renovations.

The historical establishment, built in 1883, has been extensively restored and remodeled by owners Florian and Lori Barth, who have leased the place to Carlos and Shawna Castillo. The restaurant and bar are sure to be local favorites again, as the pictures hanging on the walls tell the story of a rich history of both Tres Pinos and the 19th Hole.

"We just wanted to give the community full access to this historical place," said Barth, adding that people are constantly coming in and looking for pictures of themselves and their friends and relatives, some that have been placed on the walls relatively recently, and others more than a century ago.

"One older man came in and asked if he could get copies of pictures of his father because he didn't have any photos at all himself," added Barth.

Shawna Castillo said everyone who comes in "has a story to tell" and she noted how the clientele of cowboys, ranchers and bikers tend to make them quite colorful.

"It's so nice that the everyone can enjoy this place again," she said. "It is like a community service to open such a historically interesting building for everyone to enjoy."

She also pointed out how it's no longer a "21-and-over place" and laughingly noted that many locals remember sleeping in the backs of trucks when they were kids while their parents drank inside.

Those days are gone now with a full menu that everyone can enjoy. Ribeye steak, burgers, oak-fired chicken, sausage sandwiches, and Caesar salads are ready to be served to all ages.

In order to fully upgrade the 19th Hole, everything on the walls was carefully photographed and cataloged. A large area that had been a general store became an extensive dining room. A new ADA bathroom was added to complement the two old saloon-style bathrooms in the bar. And they installed a gleaming new kitchen along with a state-of-the-art security system.

The former water storage tank, attached to the main building, also was turned into a dining area, distinctive with a high roof that slopes inward as it rises. Visible through steel bars in that area is the former meat locker where generations of county residents would bring in deer and other game on the hooks that still hang on the walls.

The outside has been restored as well.

"We stripped off five layers of paint to get to the original redwood," Florian Barth said.

They added a walkway-like porch around the establishment, recreated by using photos from the 1880s to make the exterior similar today to the same building more than 120 years ago.

Once all of the improvements and upgrades had been finished - including all new electrical and plumbing systems - they put back everything just the way it had been. The bar area in particular was carefully reconstructed, with hundreds of photographs, other memorabilia and each piece of old wood placed back in their proper places. They've added new photos, too.

"All the old locals have come by and have given us new pictures and told us the stories that go with them, Shawna Castillo said.

So what motivated Barth, who came here from Germany 30 years ago, to buy the place?

"I remember coming in here very soon after I arrived in California," he said. "It felt so interesting. I remember thinking how wonderful it would be if my son could come in 30 years later and see the place just as it was."

Barth went on to note it was his wife Lori who compelled him in the end.

"She really strongly wanted to do the right thing," he said, "to buy this place and get it back into the lives of Tres Pinos."

Carlos Castillo said it's important to note that most owners would have changed things during such a remodel.

"Maybe they would have removed some photos or altered the historical ceiling in the bar," he said. "Instead, preserving history was the main objective of the remodel."

Upcoming events

Locals can look forward to two upcoming events at 19th Hole. First, Dan Gordon of Gordon Biersch will stop by to serve appetizers and beer samples at 6 p.m. Aug. 15. The second event is a porch branding. Locals can bring their brands and burn them into the new boards of the porch area. As many brands as possible are wanted, but the first 20 branders will get a beer on the house. "We really want to cater to the ranch families in the area," said building owner Florian Barth, noting that both his family and the Castillos own local ranches. "Having the brands burned right into the place is the right thing to do."

Jeff Gatlin
Jeff Gatlin is a staff writer at The Hollister Free Lance. You can call him at (831) 637-5566 or send him an email.



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Tres Pinos, CA 95075

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