Photo: Bartenders Alejandro Valencia and Armida Sarinana are ready to serve at The Black Rabbit on the Miracle Mile in Stockton (ROBYN JONES/CONTRIBUTOR)
If it’s 4 p.m. to midnight and you are hungry, thirsty, just want to disappear for a while or meet a friend for an intimate conversation, The Black Rabbit awaits you.
The pub on Stockton’s Miracle Mile offers craft beers, elevated specialty cocktails, their famous OG Chicken Sando, and their signature brussel sprouts and certified Angus Beef OG Smash Burger with garlic fries. The atmosphere is intimate, chill and dark. Tucked-away black leather booths, a cozy bar glowing under a low lit chandelier, black walls, mirrors, a black drape-covered window keeping out sunlight, and continuous music allows you to step away from whatever… and relax.
Black Rabbit’s website boasts a ridiculously good time, food and drinks at their gastropub where you’re invited to “Come get weird with us.”
An inset rustic wooden door with heavy iron hardware graces the intentionally nondescript entrance. Save the black awning with “The Black Rabbit” above the door, one could easily walk or drive past without noticing anything.
Owner Johnny Hernandez says he created an atmosphere where people feel like they have stepped away from their daily routines and stresses. Patrons can go to a place that provides great food, drinks, conversation and that rare balance of familiarity and autonomy.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s in conflict resolution, Hernandez spent 11 years as a conflict resolutions specialist representing union employees. Hernandez decided a two-year sabbatical was in order. He sold his house, bought a hot dog stand and served up dogs and sides outside the San Joaquin County Courthouse.
In 2018 one of his hot dog customers told him the Abbey Trappist Pub was for sale. Hernandez mentioned it to his wife and she said, “We should buy it.” They looked at each other and laughed at the idea and then they did it.
They needed a name, and that was finalized. Well, that was finalized about 4 a.m. after several hours of discussion between Hernandez, his wife and cousin. Hernandez had been doing research and wanted something that reflected speakeasy restaurants during the prohibition era.
Specialty drinks poured over custom hand-cut, boulder-shaped ice cubes delight his customers without watering down the flavor. Weekly deliveries of 100% Angus Beef support the business’s boast of serving the best burgers in town.
Hernandez expresses a keen desire to consistently deliver a feel-good atmosphere, exceptional service, unique dishes, and signature drinks to his diverse set of customers.
Come late August customers will have yet another option next door (north side) to The Black Rabbit. Hernandez is taking over a Subway location and offering a larger private banquet room and bar. To be named Leche.it will have a completely different kind of vibe. Think retro ’80s, bright colors, Pop Art.
And those customers? Well they mean everything. Some of his customers liked The Black Rabbit so much they now work for Hernandez. Now that’s customer appreciation. We all want to go where we feel valued, right! Many of his customers are in the service industry themselves, professionals, or just people who seem to know a good thing when they see it, feel it and taste it.
At the Black Rabbit, drinking is allowed on premises only but dining and bottled beer are available inside or for take out. Black Rabbit specialty drinks include Strawberry Fields, Chartreuse Manhattan, Pistol Pete, Aviation, Corpse Reviver (what’s in that?), Smoked Old Fashioned and a Black Tie Martini (black tie optional). Check out their website for private parties.
The Black Rabbit
2353 Pacific Avenue, Suite B
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to midnight; Sunday 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.