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Down town Pleasanton is boring

Original post made by Pleasanton Resident, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2009

We recently took a stroll downtown Pleasanton on a Sunday afternoon. OMG, the place is just dead quiet! We went for some yogurt, walked around for a few minutes and headed home. There's not much there to do or see if there's no Farmer Market.

Perhaps the city should put a children play area there for the kids to play. I think we also need a Pool/Billard place or something in downtown area. Your thoughts?

Comments (40)

Posted by I agree
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2009 at 2:48 pm

I agree, but I think the problem is that a lot of the businesses are closed on Sunday afternoon. Which makes no sense to me.

Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 15, 2009 at 3:11 pm

For some Christians, the Sabbath is very important. They want to attend church services and be with their families and others believers.

Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Sep 15, 2009 at 4:50 pm

I love downtown Pleasanton. I do think we could add a little more variety in our nightlife though.

I think there are pool tables in the one true bar that is there, next to the quiznos.

Posted by Poster boy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2009 at 10:33 pm

Maybe every sunday, they could give the key to the city to some random wingnut political commentator (Glenn Beck, Rush, Hannity, Savage). The resulting uproar will bring hoards of protestors/shoppers downtown ready to yell and rant and spend money, and the resulting riots will be a hoot!

Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Although a lot of people attend worship services on Sunday (and some on friday or saturday), I think the issue is primarily the high rent. It's hard to imagine how some of those shops can stay in business with what they must be paying in rent per month.

I heard that the space formerly occupied by Domus was rented out at $20k per month. How many businesses can justify that kind of expense which surely increases dramatically when you add the costs of insurance, utilities, wages for employees etc. on top of that? Granted, that space was quite large, but it does highlight the fact that there is no easy to solution to the problems downtown.

I've heard people comment how nice it would be to have small businesses in the downtown area rather than national chains, but who else can afford the overhead that is necessary in order to be downtown?

Posted by Agree
a resident of Pheasant Ridge
on Sep 16, 2009 at 7:53 am

They even start rolling up the sidewalks by 9:00 on Sunday night! A really good sports bar (not a dump like Hopyard); would be good, but we have been here 3 years now and there is absolutley no reason to head downtown. If its dinner and drinks for us, we now head to Walnut Creek or even Berkeley or across the Bay. By the way, with the execption of Barrone's and Hap's...the dinning establishments downtown are mediocre at best.

Posted by Arroyo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2009 at 8:27 am

There are great places to eat, but too many dinner houses. Higher rents drove out the antique stores and most of the small botiques that we used to visit. With the exception of Saturday, and the occasional parade or special event, the downtown has become boring.

For night life, head to Livermore

Posted by Peter G.
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 16, 2009 at 8:30 am

Walk your dog to Murphy's Paw, which is open 7 days a week. They always have fresh water and free organic treats. All of the businesses in that area (Main & West Angela) are open on Sundays. The farmer's market is on Saturday's by the way, same location.

Posted by Lisa
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 16, 2009 at 8:51 am

One block off Main Street is a lovely park/playground on Peters Avenue to keep the kids entertained :-)

Posted by Chris
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 16, 2009 at 8:51 am

There is a pool hall - Pastime! Woot Woot! It is not upscale, but you can shoot some pool there....Sorry, but I like living in a city where there is not something going on 24/7. It is not necessary. Pleasanton has so many things going on, not just the Farmer's Market, festivals, ice skating is coming, why do we have to entertain 24/7. Yes, some people do like to be at home too....

Posted by jacee
a resident of Castlewood
on Sep 16, 2009 at 8:52 am

Yes, Booooring! I was excited when we moved here 3 yrs. ago that downtown was so accessible and quaint. Quaint has become sparse, and accissible is no longer relevant. We don't need more restaurants or yogurt shops. It needs some new life, and fast, before downtown becomes ghost town.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 16, 2009 at 8:54 am

It would definitely be boring to have the same national chains downtown as there are at the mall (with some food exceptions) but it's equally boring to have a zillion banks which are closed on Sunday - several "spa" type businesses and more consignment shops than any one downtown could ever need. How many shoppers really frequent consignment shops. We now have several ice cream/yogurt places. How about the city bringing in a variety that will liven up the place. An upscale sports bar sounds good - a very nice soup/salad place like California Pizza Kitchen would be a nice change from the array of restaurants that exist or even an upscale burger stop. How about a one/two movie screen theater like the Vine. There have to be other types of businesses that will bring vitality to the street.

Posted by Nosy Neighbors
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Sep 16, 2009 at 8:54 am

Remember folks, it's the residents of Pleasanton & the City Council members during the 80's & 90's that shut down the last wave of sports bars, night spots, bars & eateries & forced the remaining establishments to close at 9:00 in order to create a more "family atmosphere" in the downtown area.

So now that the old,(er) stodgy & more conservative residents are dying off & their children & newer, younger residents are moving to the downtown area we just might have an opportunity to change some of the draconian laws that hamper the downtown region from truly becoming a go-to destination. But first we will have to persuade the current crop of NIMBY residents & the city council (Matt, are you listening?) that the downtown shopping/dining district must be made a priority in regards to the city's general plan.

While I have always been in favor of small, privately owned, one-off & unique business's locating downtown it just might be necessary to review this in light of the Domus closing, Prince of Whales empty lot, Treehouse, Ac'cidentals & other empty storefronts that command premium rent prices.

Posted by New to Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 16, 2009 at 9:11 am

I just moved to Pleasanton a few months ago. I agree with Chris I do not need main street rocking 24/7. I like being able to drive there and actually find parking on a Sunday morning and grab a coffee then do some shopping. When its too crowded I tend to just give up after circling the streets looking for parking and go home or drive out further to another area to go shop and eat. I love the restaurants there and have been to a handful now. My friends love coming to visit and we hang out downtown. It would be nice if the stores were open maybe earlier on Sundays because of the heat, you can go shop early then head out after lunch. I would like to see another coffee shop with more outdoor seating and maybe more activity with the wine tasting shops. I love it there, great move for me!!

Posted by John MacDougall
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2009 at 9:30 am

We're experiencing a big reality check right now. It will take a while for landlords to accept the fact that sky-high rents aren't going to come back. Starbucks jacked up rents nationwide, and now Starbucks has closed many of those locations. In a few years we might see a time when communities support small local business, local landlords support small business, local banks loan to small business, and children run free with flowers in their hair. As long as the bottom line rules, I'm not going to see it in my lifetime.

Posted by MIchael V
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 16, 2009 at 9:48 am

Downtown has been dead for years. It's only getting worst with the additional Real Estate, Bank, types of businesses. I honestly feel our City leaders are at peace with the non-existing downtown climate. Strict, and well planned activities by the Downtown Association are welcomed, but businesses that may attract those under 40 are often shut out. Live music, late hours, estblishments will never fly here. Though I love the city - it's gonna take many years (if ever) to change the older, white, upper middle-class, conservative ways. I'm also surprised that Rush, O'Reily, Beck, and others don't have winter homes here!

Posted by Rene R.
a resident of Country Fair
on Sep 16, 2009 at 10:18 am

If it weren't for the corner establishments and outdoor area (Tully's, etc.) there wouldn't even be half the number of people downtown. Every time I go downtown it seems I see another vacated store front. I think we are going to need an anchor store of some sort to take over Domus' space - if it has to be a "chain type" store, so be it. We've got to attract more people to do more than just stroll around only having purchased a yogurt or a cup of coffee.

Posted by Friend of Ptown
a resident of Dublin
on Sep 16, 2009 at 10:33 am

Are you serious? Downtown Pleasanton has stuff going on ALL the time. Just because you strolled down there on a random Sunday and weren't bombarded with activity, you feel the need to come to a forum and degrade the downtown? As a personal friend of some of the people who make a lot of stuff happen downtown, I'm disappointed. Do you know Pleasanton puts on more events than almost any other "downtown" area in the US? There are people that are working VERY hard to bring vitality to the downtown. Did you not attend any of the five 1st Wednesday events, any of the 14 Concerts in the Park, any of the Farmer's Markets, any of the merchant events, either of the wine strolls? Stop me when I make you more bored. All the ideas (pool hall, bars, kid's playground) are all ideas that come up all the time! Do not think you're sheding some kind of brand new bright light on the rest of us. People (myself included) have been lobbying for certain types of businesses to come downtown, merchants staying open later, music in the streets... Most of these ideas come with added time, money, and work that no one has or is willing to put out. Instead of whining on a forum, why don't you attend council or any other meetings where you might make a difference? Wait, wait, let me guess. You're too busy, you have kids, you don't have extra time... Ugh.

Posted by Kathy
a resident of Val Vista
on Sep 16, 2009 at 10:35 am

At every City Council meeting there is an "open mic" feature. You can go up and tell the City Council what you think about downtown. If they hear from enough people, then they can add the topic to the agenda for the following meeting. At this point, CC and the city think that downtown is just peachy as is. They are working on adding new things like the ice rink, BUT the reality is....we need a nightlife environment downtown. We need restaurants that aren't just fine dining, no more banks and salons, spas and services. The CC can take control over what happens downtown, but the property owners will freak out. It also involves a lot of work and committment.

Posted by Melanie
a resident of Val Vista
on Sep 16, 2009 at 10:56 am

Sunday was especially slow in downtown. Probably because it was the first "Football" Sunday.

Posted by Melanie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2009 at 11:19 am

All the "planned events" are great, and I attend many of those. The concern here is with the everyday flavor of the downtown. If people don't see it as a place to go when "events" are not happening, we will see more and more stores closing and more and more banks, etc. moving in.

Posted by Rick
a resident of Parkside
on Sep 16, 2009 at 12:18 pm

I smile as I read the complaints....and then shake my head.

Sunday afternoons can be quiet – all around the city. For some, it is chance to relax at home or BBQ with family and friends. Some, don’t venture out when weather is so ‘wild’ as it was last weekend (or if it is too hot). Some have kids and are working on homework they have not gotten too all weekend.

Some families are out of town and just returning on Sunday afternoon to their own home. Others just want to watch some football – and with the new season just begun, I know a ton of neighbors that just wanted to be in front of their own TV. Still others use Sundays as a family day – since many sports the kids are involved in are not playing that 1 day of the week (while other teams are non stop all year, every day of the week).

If you want a yogurt – it’s there downtown. If you want to dance to loud music, it’s there (ex: Red Coats). You want some nice music and a great dinner or a cocktail – try Farmers Restaurant, or Barone’s.

Great Happy Hour at Oasis – as well as wonderful food and drink all evening. Want to sit outside and relax with a beverage – try Pasta’s, Blue Agave….get a coffee at Tully’s or other locations. Old Town books – great place to stop in and see what is available. Want a Pizza – Gay 90’s. You can even sit outside. Or try Round Table.

Wine tasting – get over to The Wine Steward or try the new place – Happy Valley on Main street. Get over to Meadowlark and have an ice cream…and then play at one of the parks nearby.

There are many things to do downtown. This is a wonderful place to live. If you want nightlife that is not offered here – jump on BART and you are in SF in 45 minutes. Pleasanton is rich with things to do….and rich in allowing a person to just sit and relax under a shade tree, munching on an ice cream cone or just doing nothing at all. I love it here

Note: No – I do not own a business in town or work downtown. Just my 2 cents on what I believe is one of the best places to live, to have raised my children, and to celebrate life on a daily basis.

Posted by shelley jarvis
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 16, 2009 at 12:22 pm

I went to have a drink with three friends on a hot summer Thursday night at 9:00 and we were turned away from Blue Agave, Stacy's, Albertos because they were closing. The places were packed but they would not let us in after 9:00. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

In contrast, downtown Livermore is hopping at night. People are out, strolling, eating, hanging out at the restaurants.

Posted by Jamie S.
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Sep 16, 2009 at 1:59 pm

I think the biggest problem is all the vacancies where stores have been force to close.
I, too, tried to make a reservation for (4) on a Saturday night at one of the restaurants. I was told if we couldn't be there by 8:45 pm we were out of luck! Since we were planning to eat after a movie, we dined elsewhere...... Come on, it's Saturday night!!

Posted by Shocked
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 16, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Wow as I sit here reading everyone's comments, not only on this topic but some other "downtown" topics I am ashamed that some of you are my neighbors. Pleasanton is what it is, its a great town thats why I moved here. Our downtown may not be as "lively" as say Downtown San Jose or SF but hey thats why I moved away from there. Its not party central for god sake people! Granted it would be nice if things were open a little later but its not Las Vegas. We are lucky we have a historical downtown area that has as many shops and restaurants, there are a few cities around us that are dead, completely because they don't even try to do any events there. I am glad we have what we have and I think if rents were lower it would bring in more places.But seriously its pretty full not too many vacant shops. Hey you live in Pleasanton, life could be worse, just enjoy it!!

Posted by Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 16, 2009 at 3:22 pm

@ Rick- Thank you, well said. I love this town and love raising my kids here.

@ Shelley Jarvis - Next time you are looking for a place to grab a drink, try the Oasis or Red Coats. They both stay open late.

@ Everyone demanding the City Council "bring in" bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues - really? Do you understand how government works and how free enterprise works? Cities cannot "bring in" anything, they can encourage businesses to set-up shop with tax incentives, etc. but most cities are not in business to run a for profit enterprise.

Posted by Linda
a resident of Castlewood
on Sep 16, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Downtown is great!! Clover Creek, Little Valley Winery and Gift Boutique,Sincerely Yours, Rick's Picks,Towne Center Books,Gourmet Works, American Harvest, Berry Patch, Thriving Ink,Alexander's Fine Art, Studio 7, Murphy's Paw, Pans on Fire, Your Stage Toys are just a few places open on Sun. Many do close at 5, but they also need a life. Barone's,Little Valley,Red Coats and the Farmer have music to entertain you.We also have two yogurt shops for the family and a wonderful park on Peter's Street. Fall is approaching and there is the Fall Fest, Magical Holiday and Ice Skating and much more. So get a grip be happy the merchants are open for you to shop. If you look at Downtown on Sunday no one is around. So it is a two way street.

Posted by anne
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2009 at 4:33 pm

absolutely, we need to ADD a new variety of night life to downtown Pleasanton instead of all the pretentious sidekicks....
childrens playground
teen center with activities, like a billiard hall, ever see the TV show 7th heaven??
oooooooooooooo the possibilities of being a normal quaint and wonderful little downtown!

Posted by Move away
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Why did you people move here if it so terrible? If you wanted to live near a"vibrant" downtown where there is always live music, or whatever it is you are looking, go to Walnut Creek or San Jose or San Francisco. I don't understand why someone would move to a new place and then want to transform into the place they came from.

Posted by Two Cents Worth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Downtown Pleasanton is stogy and not much to look forward to. A yogurt once in awhile is great but what eating establishments really stand out. We save Barones and Haps for special occasions, or travel out of Pleasanton for a special experience. If I want to spend a day downtown shopping with out of town friends, where the heck do I take them? Consignment shops and Rick's Picks? If I would like to spend a QUIET evening visiting with friends over a cocktail or glass of wine, where do we meet? On and on...

I guess what I feel DT needs is an environment that provides something unique, something for everyone, a destination that attracts current lifestyles, and a vibe to attract a sophisticated clientele vs family oriented events that attract a small percentage of residents.

Downtown please get a VIBE!

Posted by Livermoron that works in P-town
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Sep 16, 2009 at 8:13 pm

Come to downtown Livermore-we are rockin every day and night. P-town has become a boring town. we went shopping there at xmas time like we were told and it was boring and dead.

Posted by Move away
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 16, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Move to Livermore. There's more going on and you'll be much happier.

Posted by Mike C.
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 17, 2009 at 7:20 am

Good points made by all - but let's keep in mind these "softball" type questions/observations just allow us to type a few sentences of our oponions and move on. Even though my wife and I think Pleasanton would benefit with a little more activity downtown (like the idea of a small 1-2plex movie theatre) we have no plans of moving to Livermore, San Jose, or SF. I'm also sorry to hear some are "ashamed" to have those with differnt oponions as neighbors. If we didn't care and love Pleasanton - this Comment section would be blank. Now let's all move away from our computers and go outside and enjoy life!

Posted by Move away
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 17, 2009 at 8:41 am

We can't go outside Mike C.; it's too boring! It's so bad that we needed to have a long string of messages about it. We need to demand the the city council do something about it and blame the landlords for charging too much rent. We need to ridicule those who prefer that downtown be quiet at night and eliminate those pesky family-type events that nobody wants. And we need to bring back the bars that the people who lived here in the '80s and '90s drove away (they were dumps, believe me) and those people are nearing death anyway. But most of all, we need to demand that somebody make it happen rather than opening a business ourselves because we think it will bring in all kinds of business.

Posted by Newby
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 17, 2009 at 9:30 am

I am relatively new to Pleasanton. All I can say is BE THANKFUL for what we have! At least we can read the signs of the business' downtown and at our farmers market we can buy kettle corn and sourdough bread. Look how many of our neighboring cities whose downtowns use to look like ours, they are no more. Now its all foreign languages and farmers markets with foods I never even heard of. YES it would be nice if the stores and restaurants stayed open later. I have on more than one occasion drove like a crazy person from work in the southbay to make it to a store on Main street to buy something before they closed. Once I called and they stayed open for me, that was way nice! Hopefully more business' will come in once this economy gets better. It would be great to have a nice place downtown to watch Sharks games and football and stuff and hang out with my neighbors. I would not trade our downtown for any city within a 50 mile radius, that is why I moved here.

Posted by agreed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2009 at 10:58 am

I agree with Newby - I recently moved here as well. I could have moved anywhere but I chose Pleasanton after a very exhaustive search of the entire bay area. Is downtown perfect, no... there's definitely room for improvement. After seeing Livermores theater and their downtown improvements I'll admit that I wish we could do something like that. But I would never move to Livermore for a ton of other reasons. This isn't really a time where people/businesspeople are flush with cash and looking to expand but perhaps this is the perfect time for an investor to take advantage of a down market and some reduced costs of doing business and breath some new life into downtown with something other than the typical types of businesses (bank/spa/etc).

I was glad to see little valley open up their tasting room downtown, and Barone's expand their hours and entertainment, as well as the farmer 'reopen', all in the past couple months. That's the right direction and all very positive events for our downtown.

Posted by Friend of Ptown
a resident of Dublin
on Sep 17, 2009 at 12:23 pm

@Move away: Family-type events that nobody wants? And just what would those events be? 1st Wednesday? Weird, because you can find thousands and thousands of people downtown those nights. And it's not quiet. Concerts in the park? Weird, that park is packed with people every Friday night and I know some of those people hang out in and patron the downtown before and after the music. The wine strolls aren't family-type so I guess we'll skip those. The retail stores and restaurants sometimes hold fundraising events that are family-type to help out non-profits. I guess you could be talking about those. Geeeze. You can "demand" all you want. The City cannot make businesses rent downtown and they cannot keep businesses from renting downtown. Do your homework. You also do not need to open a business yourself. Why don't you attend some City Council meetings and "demand" them to do something? Thank goodness there are some rational and thankful people that enjoy what Downtown Pleasanton does have to offer. If you don't like it, be the difference or go somewhere else.

Posted by Move away
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 17, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Friend of PTown; you need to read a few more posts. My post was sarcastic and summarized serious comments made by others above. If you look at my earlier posts you'd see that my suggestion to the complainers was that they MOVE.

Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 18, 2009 at 2:03 am

I suggested it sometime ago when responding to an earlier post concerning the lack of activity downtown - bring in "Billy Bob's Texas"...

Enjoy a casual dinner at one of the many restaurants, then pop into Billy Bob's for a beverage of your choice while enjoying the music/entertainment. Even join in one of the numerous fights if you are so inclined...

There would also be "outdoor entertainment" as the fights spill out onto the sidewalk...

I'd bet they would come from far and wide to spend their money on a Friday/Saturday night. Might even do a little shopping in the boutiques while they're here..

Hey, we have the "preachers", why not, for lack of a better description, the "rednecks"(this will probably be deleted as "inappropriate language"). Isn't this supposedly a city of "Character"...

Just a suggestion. You never know, could be a sure winner...:):)

Posted by Gail
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2009 at 8:33 am

Barone's- great atmosphere and gathering place on Thursday band- fun!!!

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