Home Architecture MORAGA: What’s Ahead For The Bar(n)?

MORAGA: What’s Ahead For The Bar(n)?

The Bar(n) - old and new.

It’s arguably Moraga’s most visible landmark. No one famous was ever shot there and the Forty Niners only brawled there from time to time, but it’s historic – for little Moraga. Even with its see-through floor and cockroaches, it had panache. Now, it boasts a LEED Platinum certification, underground cisterns, reclaimed redwood and a modern art gallery appeal – and a falling asking price.

What will become of the Moraga Barn?

The area’s most revered watering hole, which literally bore the names of locals who etched their names in its plank or bathroom walls, was preserved – to a degree – with Chris Avant’s restoration of the site back in 2013. Gone was the smell of a leaking soap dispenser, spilled Budweiser and Lysol, and the New Barn emerged in 2014 a gleaming wonder of sustainability and green design.

But who wants that, right? (Remember, we are playfully ironic here at NEWS24-680 – we want and admire modern wonders of sustainability and design). The author will confess to considering the prospect of life in a space he used to sneak into as a teen, returned to on Thanksgivings and local funerals over the intervening years – but then the author always had a thing for old buildings, saloons, and character.

The Barn’s current iteration has proved to be a hard sell. Realtors handling its sale recently announced that $500,000 had been lopped off its $1.7 million asking price, aligning the venerable old watering hole with the shiny new face with the going rate for 60’s-era ranchers with aggregate entries, avocado fixtures, and shag rugs.

Rumors about the future of the property, smack in the middle of town now but losing neighbors like the School Street post office, abound. Wild talk – again, we’re talking about Moraga here – about putting a restaurant or a wine bar in there never materialized.

Now, perhaps if we brought that old dime-slot phone booth, a hitching post, and a couple of brawling linebackers back to town we’d have something again.


  1. I lighter-touch restoration would have simultaneously preserved rustic charm and made the math/economics work out for a low/medium volume local bar/grill. Not sure of ownership, but if financed conventionally, the bank now owns it and I predict will soon give up on a sale and try to attract a restaurant with very favorable lease terms. It’s a bad location for drive-by exposure, but it would be possible to build awareness/business over time….

  2. Someone on Facebook suggested news 24 680 make it there headquarters. That actually makes some sense. How about it guys?

  3. I’m afraid Chris is right. No restaurant would survive there for long. What happened to the construction company that was headquartered there?

  4. I went by after reading this. It seems to have some structural issues. There are cracks all over the building.maybe it’s too green for its own good.

  5. Built as a hotel in 1914 by James Irvine as a means to attract people to move to the then new town of Moraga. The recently opened (1913) railroad made it accessible to the rest of the area. Moraga didn’t grow as anticipated, and it survived as a watering hole for decades.
    A restaurant is probably going to be it’s future.
    Is the building historically protected?

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