The Rook Bar La Mesa is now under new management.

The Rook Bar LogoThe Rook Bar La Mesa is now under new management.

Husband and wife team, William and Miranda Durning, have purchased The Rook Bar in La Mesa.  If you frequent my blog you will have seen this club reviewed before on these pages.  I wrote a short piece about the live music on Friday nights with Charlie Arbelaez a few months back.  Although the jam session is no longer going on, you can read about all about it here.

I caught up with the busy new parents on Wednesday night for a few questions about the Rook Bar, live music and the fantastic new selection of craft beers.

So, when did you buy The Rook?

We’ve had it about about three weeks now.  Around the middle of September.

How has it been going so far?

Business is better with the live music. The Rook is a nice clean bar. A lot of people don’t know we are out there.  People aren’t aware that the bar even exists.  I’ve heard from friends in the area that people don’t even know we’re here. Everyone who has come in says the bar has a great feel too it.  The bartenders are really friendly. We are keeping our bartenders who have been working here before we bought the bar, and keep that continuty.  We want to bring in different music acts to keep it fresh.

Is the craft beers something new?

Yes! We are stressing this.  Our model is kinda moving away from cheap domestics, and cans.  San Diego has over one hundred craft breweries, it’s the craft beer capitol of California.  We want to bring in people who want to experience those beers here.  We want share that with people.

The Rook Bar Beer List

Can they still get a Budweiser if they want one?

Yes, we’re still carrying those brand name domestics, but we’re moving away from cans.

Why did you buy it?

We work full time jobs.  We saved some money and we understand how to run a business.  Actually we were looking for laundromats, but when I saw this online, I had to take a look.  I knew this might be a business where we both keep our day jobs.  Now that we have it, we’re both really happy with the purchase.

The Rook Bar is known for it’s chess theme.  So, I gotta ask, Will do you play chess?

I don’t!  I know how to play but I don’t avidly play. In fact, Miranda beat me the last time we played!

You moved your queen too soon?

Yeah, I lost my queen early on.

Ok, other than the new selection of craft beers, what changes can people expect at The Rook now?

Were leaving the pool table, and now there will be more interactive table top games for entertainment. You know, like one of the those touch screen games. We have also added a new pinball machine, a jute box and a working dart board.

I love pinball! Which machine did you guys get in there?


Nice!  I know what I’m doing on set break. Is there any particular style or genre of live music that will become synonymous with The Rook?

I think we are really in the experimental phase.  We had our debut concert this last Saturday.  It was an acoustic rock band, like surf rock.  We’re learning, but we want to get the emphasis out there that The Rook is a nice place to hear good music and have a beer.  We want everyone who comes here to feel comfortable and welcome.

Let’s go over some nuts and bolts, what are your hours of operation?

We’re open from 2pm – 2am, Monday through Saturday.  On Sunday we open at 9:30am for the NFL games.  The Rook kind of transforms into a mini sports bar on Sundays.  We have the NFL package and people can watch all the games on our nine televisions.

Do you have any happy hour specials?

Yes!  In fact we have great happy hour specials.  Monday through Friday from 5pm to 7pm.  We have tons of drink specials, dollar-off-draft pints, $.50 cent games of pool, and more.

How can bands who are interested in booking The Rook Bar get in contact with you?

Email is the best method.  They can send presskit information and social media links to or message our booking agent on Facebook.

Copyright © 2015. C. Lougeay

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