LOS BANOS -- Like any team worth its salt, the Shiner Nation now has a headquarters.
The Moonshine Bandits and a couple of business partners opened Shiners Bar & Grill, 650 I St., Saturday to a packed house of tattooed fans who came to drink, dance and eat.
"Our fan base, they really like to party, they really like to drink beer, they really like to have a good time," said Dusty "Tex" Dahlgren.
The bar is decorated with images of Los Banos landmarks -- the welcome sign, Henry Miller's statue and tomatoes -- and musical inspirations, like Willie Nelson. It features 16 brands of beer.
The Bandits, which also includes Brett "Bird" Brooks, are 1996 Los Banos High graduates. The group has built a loyal following, and fans from Merced and Stanislaus counties, as well as some from as far as Redding, showed their support opening night, Dahlgren said.
Highlighting Los Banos and the surrounding areas is important to the duo, Dahlgren said. The fully-stocked bar includes the Bandits' own Outlaw Moonshine made in Modesto, beer from Turlock-based Dust Bowl Brewery and 51 Fifty Energy Drink from Livingston.
"Our roots and our ties to the Los Banos community is very deep," Dahlgren said.
Signed guitars, the door from a 1920s-era Los Banos Fire Department engine, signs of all kinds and a nod to the bar's previous owner also hang from the walls.
At least three other owners have opened and closed shop at the I Street site, and Dahlgren said he wanted to pay tribute to "old-timer" Johnnie Ciuffo's place with a specially made poster.
"We have no relation to them, but we just thought it would be cool to pay tribute to old-school Los Banos," Dahlgren said.
The club's newest owners paid to refurbish the dance floor, replace the stage and add some other touches here and there. Dahlgren said he thinks Shiners can draw visitors in ways past owners couldn't and other places in town can't.
"We're a live music venue that serves food, and we're going to have all of the bands we know," Dahlgren said. "We can get a lot of cool acts to come through here."
As of Wednesday, Dahlgren said, the bar has a full menu, which includes Portuguese beans and linguiça, stuffed burgers and "all the deep-fried stuff you can think of."
He has plans for karaoke, themed parties and showing sports events on the TVs.
The Bandits are about to kick off a two-month tour of mostly East Coast and Southern shows, but with appearances in Sacramento, Bakersfield and Rancho Cucamonga. Half of those shows will be with rap-rockers Kottonmouth Kings and half with Southern rock band Rehab.
"That's how you expand your fan base nowadays -- you got to play live," Dahlgren said.
Dahlgren said the duo will perform a show in the Shiners Bar & Grill when the tour ends. The pair released a new single in May called "Super Goggles."
Los Banos Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at email@example.com.