Reformed dive bar transformed into corner bar & grill.
No business should ever be frowned upon for improving a space, generating more business, renovating a storefront. Zebra Club, once a Midtown Sacramento dive bar staple has done all of that and then some, transforming an interior space and vibe inside from dusty dive bar to contemporary bar & grill. And while that may not serve the purposes of a dive bar hunter, it can certainly serve the needs of anyone looking for a friendly, neighborhood vibe on a pleasant city street corner with decent food (especially breakfast).
A cursory search through past online mentions of Sacramento’s Zebra Club turns up all manner of colorful story about bartender, patron and everything in between. Those same searches can show the gradual transformation of Zebra’s Club’s space, once a little heavier on the wood paneling and wall of liquor behind the bar, today home to an extensive craft beer selection on tap and refinished surfaces throughout. What hasn’t changed is the bar’s status as Premier League hub for both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, continuously drawing strong, alcohol-friendly morning crowds.
Outside, the changes are more subtle thanks to the persistent sign above the door that features, naturally, a zebra head, a dive bar-standard martini glass and the name of the bar in an arrangement that looks 80s-esque. Fresh paint along the exterior walls and windows completes the depiction of corner neighborhood stop, opaque glass blocks lining the door as a final nod to the bar’s divey past.
The Zebra Club is split into two main spaces inside, a series of low restaurant-style tables lining the wall opposite the bar. Said wall is filled with windows, creating an airy feeling to the space under the usually cooperative Sacramento sun. The bar itself looks to have endured a number of different phases, today a revamped but intact island straddling this bar & grill-style front room as well as the overflow seating area in back. This second room is lined with ample televisions, fitting for the Zebra Club’s status as soccer hub.
In back, a full kitchen starts serving breakfast at 7 am, transitioning to lunch mid-day and specializing in classic bar & grill-style staples. Breakfast offerings include the usual suspects and a dual alcoholic slushie machine behind the bar offers a different type of menu item, rotating at times to feature seasonal offerings. The dining spills out into an extensive, covered back patio with dense seating and the kind of character that comes with drinking outside in California.
All told, Zebra Club is not a dive bar anymore, and that’s ok. The space has been renovated extensively and engineered to create a classic neighborhood corner bar & grill vibe, accomplishing that feat in a Sacramento Midtown district friendly to that kind of outpost. Throwing a couple of boozy slushies on top certainly doesn’t hurt.