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A new tune for Rita’s?

Popular karaoke club ain't over 'til the fat lady sings.

Rita's in 2007

Rita’s New China Restaurant & Lounge, Santa Rosa’s wildly popular karaoke bar, may soon become a…sports bar? Currently in escrow, owner Nancy Chiu confirms that the restaurant is for sale and that new owners could take over the restaurant and lounge as early as June.

Though the final deal is yet to be inked, the city’s legions of boozy crooners can take comfort in knowing that the lucrative karaoke portion of the business is likely to remain.

“They’re telling me they’re not going to mess with it,” said Chiu. She added that the potential owners do plan on changing up the menu to more American-style pub grub, but may keep a few Chinese food items at the Calistoga Road nightclub. She confirmed rumors that a possible sports bar theme may be in the works.

Currently, Rita’s hosts karaoke four nights per week — with acts ranging from serious singers to — let’s just say many of us have had regrettable moments on the Rita’s stage. With waits for the karaoke stage stretching for hours on weekends, it’s long been a popular east side bar and hangout attracting a broad swath of night owls.

Chiu plans to leave the restaurant game for a while if the sale finalizes and possibly open a smaller scale restaurant in the future. But until the fat lady lip-synchs one final round of “It’s Raining Men” while spinning around the stripper pole, Rita’s is destined to remain the Rita’s we’ve all come to love.

Rita’s New China Restaurant & Lounge: 138 Calistoga Rd., Santa Rosa, 537-0308

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Comments

24 thoughts on “A new tune for Rita’s?

  1. Doc Holidays huh? Sound fun! Ritas is fun for what it is. The up and coming revamp is a welcome addition to Rincon Valley. We need a casual friendly hang out over here. Opening in this economy might be considered challenging, but in this neighborhood we need a cleaned up casual place to meet for dinner and have some fun. The only places we have are Roberto’s and Union Hotel – neither of which I like for different reasons. Robeto’s because of the owner’s chinsey and arrrogant attitude and Union Hotel because the food and staff might as well come from Applebees.

    Good luck to the new owners – see what continues to makes Ritas a success and just improve on that. I am looking forward to supporting a new establishment. Hurry!!!!! We want you here.

  2. You know, “biteclub”, you have some attitude. How do people actually still follow you after reading your responses to comments?

  3. Went to Rita’s once, sat in a booth with Capri pants on, ended up with Flea bites on my ankles! don’t remember the food. Didn’t know about the Karaoke there since I was new to town then. A remodel seems like a great idea. Good luck and keep the singing, please.

  4. You forgot to mention the Sonoma County blues Society on Wed. nights, where blues lovers gather to listen to our very talented blues musicians preserving the blues in Sonoma County.

  5. Hopefully since it’s “being remodeled by the same people that did Christy’s” that doesn’t mean it’s gonna become a fake “local socialite” spot where they over-price drinks and the no-names try to be “fabulous”….Jeff Bodean already has enough places to go lol

  6. The place has great potential. The night life is fun and the drinks are a great value. Menu changes will make a great place better!!!

    1. Good luck to the new owners and whatever you chose to put in that spot will be cool! Just please keep the food MSG free so I can order everything on the menu! Thank you!

  7. I hear Doc’s will offer late night dining – California Cuisine. I also have heard that the guy who upgraded La Rosa’s and Christy’s is remodeling the place. I’LL BE THERE!!!

  8. Just what we need, another sports bar. Cant we just have a plain old Lounge or Piano Bar or Jazz Club or Karaoke Bar? Why must they always fill bars with sports and TVs?

    1. Catch-22. All of us who want plain old lounges don’t go out enough to sustain bars that we would actually want to go to.

      Look at every local bar that opened here promising “No DJs!” or “No Hip Hop!” or “D-Bag Free!” only to completely change format within a month because no one showed up? It just happens over and over and over. 30-60 days after opening they give up and go for the hard core bar crowd just to keep their doors open, thereby driving out the rest of us who might have shown up once or twice a year.

      The “bar crowd” wants cheap drinks, cheap food, a loud sound system, DJ’s and all the other crap the rest of us complain about. So they take over and we stay home. And the cycle repeats itself.

      Ask yourself: How many times did I actually go to Barcode?

      1. I hope you have the good sense not to put the sports bar in the same room with the people that are singing…..do not mix well. The people that want to hear and watch sports usually find the singing annoying cause that is not what they are there for and the singers want a good spot to listen and get up and dance.

      2. Hey Bite Club

        First show some respect to a place that has great food and nice and friendly staff working there! Second instead of saying you won’t go why not get up and go! Third I believe that every place should be allowed to have time to flurish and make it and if they need to change things so be it! It’s any of your money being used to fund this or other places in Sonoma County? I wish the soon to be old owner a lot of luck and happiness and I wish the new owner all the luck in the world, nice way to throw a wet napkin on someone dreams! I plan on supporting this new place like I supported Rita’s for Chinese take out! Sometimes in life when you have the ability to comment on something you really shouldn’t!

        Fondly
        Michele

        1. Michele, what in the world are you ranting about? I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why you’re so upset.

  9. Since I live nearby, I really wanted Rita’s food to be decent. After trying it twice, I can say that it is, without a doubt, the worst chineese food I have ever eaten. One can assume that it can only get better from here. I’m not keeping my hopes up. From bad chineese to pub grub. Oh well.

      1. You should try it. They have really nice hot and sour soup, and the servers work their butts off to keep you happy.

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