Palo Alto’s long-standing sports bar The Old Pro to close June 19 | News

Palo Alto's long-standing sports bar The Old Pro to close June 19 | News The Old Pro in Palo Alto Oct. 2, 2019. The longtime local business is set to close on June 19, 2022. Photo by Sammy Dallal. - Sillasderuedas

The Old Pro in Palo Alto Oct. 2, 2019. The longtime local business is set to close on June 19, 2022. Photo by Sammy Dallal.

Originally opening in 1964, The Old Pro has long served as Palo Alto’s classic sports bar, even as Silicon Valley sprung up around it. The walls are covered by vintage pennants showcasing now-defunct teams like the World Football League’s Philadelphia Bell and framed Sports Illustrated covers from an era when printing color photography required weeks of planning.

Later on, the bar also attracted crowds for late-night staples including its mechanical bull Bucky, beer towers and shotskis. Open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, The Old Pro has been one of the sleepy Midpeninsula’s few spots for a late-night drink. On June 1, the business announced its permanent closure after its last day on June 19.

The (old) Old Pro opened under another name on El Camino Real near Page Mill Road and Oregon Expressway nearly 60 years ago, and Steve Sinchek purchased the business in 1994. He opened the second location of The Old Pro in downtown Palo Alto about a decade later, and the El Camino bar was shuttered in 2007 with one last blowout where its televisions were sold to patrons for $20.

The Old Pro’s current spot meant relocating its dive bar environment to the trendier location of downtown Palo Alto in a space with floor-to-ceiling windows. Still, The Old Pro retained its classic sports memorabilia decor and continued hosting everyone from Little Leaguers to college students and venture capitalists. During major sporting events, the bar would come alive and transform into a space packed with hordes of fans decked out in the red, white and blue of U.S. soccer and the red and gold of the 49ers.

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Sinchek pointed to the pandemic keeping work groups away and rising food, rent and labor costs as the main factors in the bar’s closure in interviews with The Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle though he still operates the nearby Local Union 271. A statement on social media thanks community members and asks customers to share pictures and stories.