Sweetwater Saloon

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Sweetwater Saloon in 2004; it closed in September 2007.
Inside Sweetwater Saloon before opening time, 2004.

Sweetwater was a bar located at 153 Throckmorton Avenue[1][2] Mill Valley, California, with a 30-year history of live musical performances by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello,[3] Jerry Garcia, The String Cheese Incident, John Lee Hooker and Carlos Santana. There were typically at least 4 to 5 musical acts booked per week making it a popular local hangout.[4][5][6] The Sweetwater also featured an open mike night on Mondays that occasionally featured surprise performances by well-known artists such as Gregg Allman, Train and others.[7]


Jeanie Patterson and her then-husband, Jay took over the Sweetwater in 1979.[8] Jeanie Patterson planned to close on, December 31, 1998. Becky and Thomas J. Steere, an Autodesk project director,[9] became the new owners.[10][11]


The band Hot Tuna recorded two live albums at Sweetwater in 1992[12] Live at Sweetwater, and [13]Live at Sweetwater Two, featuring guest performances by local figures Bob Weir and Wavy Gravy.

BBC Television shot a documentary at the club on January 7, 1992[14] featuring John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Riatt and Ry Cooder.[15]


In 2004, the establishment faced eviction[16] by landlords who raised the rent to more than what the owners claimed they could pay.[17] The bar was saved through donations, and its lease was renewed when the owners of the building offered new terms.[citation needed] It was not disputed that the new rent was fair, and the owners of the Sweetwater entered into a month-to-month lease.[18]

In September 2007 Sweetwater closed[19] because the landlord of the building found it necessary to renovate the somewhat run-down property and declined to offer the club terms for a new lease after the renovation's anticipated completion.[20] The owners of the building were also the longtime owners of a very popular Italian restaurant next door that had been established in the 1960s.[21] A spokesman for the family that owned the building and restaurant said at the time that the building would undergo long-overdue repairs and maintenance and that the new Sweetwater owners knew about renovation plans since their lease had expired two years previously. "We've been in this community for 45 years," he said. "If we wanted to throw the Sweetwater out, we would have done it a long time ago.".[22]


Becky and Thom Steere, the owners of Sweetwater in Mill Valley began operating the 100-seat cabaret-dinner theater Larkspur Cafe Theatre on July 1, 2007.[23] [24][25]

On Saturday, January 21, 2012, four years and four months after the original Sweetwater ceased operations, the new Sweetwater, owned and operated by a new management and investor group and located in the recently renovated lower floor of Mill Valley's Masonic Temple (opposite Mill Valley's City Hall), held its inaugural music event, a "trade only" party featuring local musician Austin De Lone's band with guest performers including Jerry Harrison (local resident and former lead guitarist for The Talking Heads).[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Liu, Cynthia (March 30, 2006). "STREET DATE : Throckmorton Avenue". sfgate.com.
  2. ^ "The Sweetwater Saloon - CLOSED". Yelp.
  3. ^ Marin's deLone and Costello, together again By Paul Liberatore Marin Independent Journal 10/12/06 "The first place I played in America was at Sweetwater," Costello recalled. "It became a hangout."
  4. ^ Best of Marin Winners Archived copy Pacific Sun, 2006
  5. ^ "Lavay Smith News and Gossip from February, 2001". Archived from the original on 2002-08-16. "Jules Broussard and band perform every Sunday at the Sweetwater in Mill Valley"
  6. ^ Jules Brousard at the Sweetwater in Mill Valley - Daily Independent Journal (San Rafael, California) 20 Dec 1975• Page 54
  7. ^ Jorma Kaukonen digs to the roots - Philip Elwood, EXAMINER, December 20, 1995
  8. ^ How sweet it was Philip Elwood, EXAMINER December 13, 1998
  9. ^ Father & Son Ride & Tie / Petaluma vet, son team up
  10. ^ 11th Hour Reprieve for Sweetwater - James Sullivan, Chronicle December 30, 1998
  11. ^ Sweetwater finds new life - Philip Elwood, EXAMINER, December 30, 1998
  12. ^ Live at Sweetwater Allmusic
  13. ^ Live at Sweetwater 2 Allmusic
  14. ^ Blues legend John Lee Hooker performs for a BBC taping at the Sweetwater in Mill Valley on January 7, 1992. - marinij.com
  15. ^ Selvin, Joel. "San Francisco, the musical history tour" page 150. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1996. ISBN 0-8118-1007-0
  16. ^ thom, the owner of sweetwater - Free Marin
  17. ^ Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle. Sour note at Sweetwater prompts outpouring of support March 18, 2004
  18. ^ Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle.
  19. ^ Mill Valley's Sweetwater to close By Paul Liberatore 08/05/07 Marin Independent Journal
  20. ^ Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle. Longtime club Sweetwater set to close Sept. 1 August 9, 2007
  21. ^ Quilt stolen from wall of Sweetwater nightclub By Paul Liberatore Posted: 09/20/07
  22. ^ Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle. Longtime club Sweetwater set to close Sept. 1 August 9, 2007
  23. ^ Sweetwater owners take over theater By Paul Liberatore 06/20/07
  24. ^ New Sweetwater! - Becky & Thom Steere - Mudcrutch Farm
  25. ^ Larkspur's Sweetwater nightclub to have final show
  26. ^ Dead's Weir heralds January opening of Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley By By Paul Liberatore, Marin Independent Journal Posted: 01/11/12

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°54′20″N 122°32′56″W / 37.90556°N 122.54889°W / 37.90556; -122.54889