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The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Come Together at Roadside22

New Local Beer and Wine Bar Brings the Community Together
Courtesy of Nicole Simpson.

Whether you enjoy trivia, shopping at a craft market, exercising, arranging flowers, decorating cupcakes, reading, or just kicking back with a glass of wine, a cold beer or some tasty appetizers, Clayton’s new Roadside22 has it all.

The bar, owned by resident Nichole Simpson, opened in October in the Clayton Station Shopping Center on the corner of Ygnacio Valley Road and Clayton Road — giving it its catchy roadside title.

Simpson, a mother of two, said she’s always dreamed of opening an event space that could be used for private parties, and the idea grew into a bar.

“My hope is to support other small businesses through events, and build a strong sense of community amongst our patrons,” Simpson said.

She made the decision to employ mainly women at the bar, explaining, “I do believe that women—especially moms—make great employees.”

“They are excellent multi-taskers, hard workers, and my group specifically is very personable,” Simpson said. “I knew that they would treat Roadside like their own company.”

Kristin Wenger, a close friend of Simpson’s, does just that. She has been a first grade teacher at the nearby Ayers Elementary for 28 years. Although she had no prior experience as a bartender, she said she picked up this second job without hesitation.

“I really want to see my friend succeed,” Wenger explained on a recent afternoon, as she was setting up the bar’s outside patio. “I was willing to do whatever it took.”

Since Wenger started working at the bar in the fall, she has grown to love it, she said, particularly the social aspect and the “togetherness” she feels with the community.

“I’ve seen so many strangers sit next to each other at the bar and strike up a conversation. This place is totally bringing the community together,” Wegner said.

Another employee, Jennifer Mucha, also got involved working at Roadside to help her friend out.

“Nichole told us she was opening a bar and it sounded fun,” said Mucha, who has also taught alongside Wenger at Ayers Elementary for more than two decades.

“My oldest [child] left for college, and I had some extra time,” she said.“I love talking about beer and wine, so I thought it would be a nice change from my day job.”

Mucha said she feels Simpson has created a much-needed social space in Clayton, a town of under 11,000 people.

“Nichole has done a great job bringing the community together,” she said, highlighting the local beers, wines, food from nearby restaurants, and other small businesses she has incorporated into her menu and events.

“There have been book clubs hosted, mom’s nights out, business meetings, and so many fun events,” Mucha added. “There is truly something for everyone at Roadside 22.”

Clayton locals can enjoy the cozy atmosphere of Roadside22. Courtesy of Nicole Simpson.

For the community around her, Simpson has indeed created more than just a bar. For fellow mom Melissa Schwartz, it’s a new favorite.

“I have visited Roadside a few times now, [and] I really like the atmosphere and service,” Schwartz said.

Aside from the “weekly events and activities that bring the community together,” she said she appreciated the ample wine selection. “I would definitely go back again. My friends and I have made some good memories there already,” Schwartz said.

Kim Woods-Roper, a mother of three, shared her experience recently attending the bar’s Silent Book Club night with friends.

“It was just what we needed,” she explained. “A comfortable place to read and discuss books with the added bonus of sharing a bottle of wine with my girlfriends.”

Roadside also offers happy hours to show appreciation of various professions.

For instance, every Tuesday, drinks are discounted for restaurant and bar workers. Thursdays are for first responders, and Fridays are for teachers and school staff.

Natalie Fassio, another mom who frequents the bar, said many members of the Concord and Clayton neighborhoods feel as if the place is above all reconnecting and rekindling old friendships.

“Our Claycord community comes together at Roadside,” Fassio said. 

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About the Contributor
Ella Potts, Staff Writer

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