Geek Meets Chic
When Revenge of the Nerds hit movie theaters in 1984, Enrique Montero was eight years old and a student at Walnut Creek’s Murwood Elementary School. Like so many of that era, Montero became obsessed with the MTV pop culture of the 80’s, rocking’ parachute pants, and breakdancing to Beverly Hills Cop’s “Axel F” at Larkey Park as a teenager.
Now, 33 years later, the 41-year-old nightclub promoter has channeled his inner passion for the “age of the blockbuster” into Retro Junkie Bar. Montero spent almost two years face-lifting the 52-year-old building on North Main Street, which was once home to WPLJ’s, before opening his new club. A former bartender at WPLJ’s, his journey has taken him full circle, returning to Walnut Creek after spending seventeen years working in the San Francisco nightclub scene.
Pasted on the walls are larger than life, digitally tattooed murals of cinematic icons like Andre the Giant, Prince, Al Pacino, Patrick Swayze, a scene from the movie Stand By Me, and a hybrid of Mike Tyson dressed up as Mr. T.
“I wanted art that would engage customers in the retro vibe; conversation pieces,” says Montero. “It’s fun listening to people try to figure out who’s on the walls. Only a true pop culture pro can name everyone. It’s only happened once.”
Besides the murals, Retro Junkie features other clever throwback amenities. Dozens of flashy skateboard decks are showcased in the back game room with “old school” video games like Ms. Pac-Man and two pool tables. Star Wars and Addams Family themed pinball machines are stationed behind the hi-tech dance floor. Live bands perform on Friday and Saturday nights and DJs spin throwback sets during the week.
“This bar is special to me in so many ways,” says Montero. “I get to give back to my hometown with cool entertainment and a nightclub experience that’s done right. It’s a place for friends to hang out and celebrate birthdays. Or guys to gather for beers and few games of pool. There’s nothing like it in the area. I’m from the old school, this is my thing. I’m really excited to have finally launched my vision.” 2112 N. Main Street, WC, retrojunkiebar.com.