At street level, Diablo’s Downtown Lounge hides behind the guise of a traditional bar. There, hearty burgers and beers culled from 10 tap lines arrive at tables surrounded by subtle red upholstery and a gallery’s worth of local artwork. But tucked away on the pub’s subterranean level is a shadowy nightclub where painted flames race up the walls and repeatedly disappoint revelers trying to light their cigarettes. Formerly Perry’s Nightclub, the downstairs haunt still invites dancing on a large floor infused with ‘80s, hip-hop, or contemporary house music handpicked by DJs and special guests. Each level hosts its own events throughout the week, including karaoke and bingo upstairs and Goth-themed dance nights downstairs.
Listed in the National Registry of Historic Places, the McDonald Theatre has enjoyed a long, strange history since its establishment in 1925. Originally a community playhouse equipped with both a stage and a screen, the theater found new life in the 1950s when One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest author and psychedelic pioneer Ken Kesey began presenting free cartoons there every Saturday morning. The McDonald spent the next six or so decades as a movie house exclusively, but in 2001, the Kesey family returned, producing concerts and community events under the theater’s enormous proscenium arch. Kesey Enterprises finally purchased the time-weighted stage in 2009, and today the building hosts events ranging from high-school proms to reggae concerts to plumbing-fixture lifting contests.