Save The Famous Johnny’s Bar & Grill Of Hollister, California.

Johnnys2Flash back. In 1947 Wino Willie and his Boozefighter’s came to Hollister, CA for the 4th of July Gypsy Tour Races. They cut loose in town after the races and one the guys drove through Johnny’s Bar & Grill on his motorcycle. They were a little bit rowdy but the mayhem that was depicted in the July 1947 issue of Life Magazine exaggerated the event. The article inspired the 1953 movie The Wild Ones with Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin. The Boozefighters have made it a point to come back to Johnny’s for the fourth of July weekend ever since. Charisse Tyson bought the very famous bar in December of 1995. She sent me to following email.

Johnnys1“With the cancellation of our famous motorcycle rally for four years and a lousy economy we took a big hit financially. The bar needs many renovations and I launched a Kickstarter program to fund them. I only have 20 days left to fund the program and it’s looking a little scary. I would sure appreciate any help you can give me in spreading the word to get donations. I believe that a place with as much history in the biker world as Johnny’s Bar & Grill needs to be preserved. Check out my project and feel free to call me if you have any questions. Thanks. Charisse 831-915-3779

I am asking all of you to watch her video and for those who can help, help Charisse funding the renovations to be completed on time for the 2014 Hollister Rally. Go to:  Johnny’s Bar & Grill Kickstarter Campaign.

33 Responses to “Save The Famous Johnny’s Bar & Grill Of Hollister, California.”

  1. 1 Mack Jan 8th, 2014 at 10:49 pm


  2. 2 Rodent Jan 8th, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    She’s gotta beg? Go to the bank and borrow!

  3. 3 Shifter Jan 8th, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    Rodent. Not everybody wish, can borrow from a bank. Especially small businesses. Also, you get something for helping.

  4. 4 Architect Jan 9th, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Rodent is a d**k!!!

    I pledged some help, one day when I get to the West coast I would like to go there on my bike and have a beer. It would be nice if was still there to make that happen and not a Starbucks that “used to be Johnny’s”.

  5. 5 Doc Robinson Jan 9th, 2014 at 7:35 am

    I’ve already pledged. I have visited the bar several times and each visit has been very cool. The Wild One caught my attention big time as a young teenager when it was showing on reruns at our local bug infested cinema. I saved long and hard for a Brando style leather jacket and then for an old motorcycle. Yep, at 15 I was king of the road roaring along on that 1948 Royal Enfield 500cc single. So to visit Johnny’s Bar and Grill, albeit many years later, was akin to a spiritual experience, though emotional is probably a better world to describe it. So get on board boys and girls, this bar is a key component of world wide biker history.

  6. 6 Mack Jan 9th, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Begging ? …..they r asking for help cuz they r barley hanging on , she is actually trying to save a little niche of history ,it would be alot easier to fold up , but many have ” begged”her to try and make a go at it and save one of the first places that started the lifestyle that many on here follow…..many of these places are disappearing by the day,…’s been said many a time …..” If I have to explain you wouldn’t understand”

  7. 7 Ghost of Christmas Past Jan 9th, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Rodent, I will see you next Christmas… ! Booo!

  8. 8 Drake Jan 9th, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Rodent needs a good and long spanking front of all the patrons of Johnny’s during the 2014 Hollister Rally.

  9. 9 Rodent Jan 9th, 2014 at 9:00 am

    For the record:
    During last years rally some gentlemen from a biker club gave a customer a minor tuneup and she voluntarily gave the cops a video of the deal plus she got up before the city council to offer more. The customer never filed a complaint. Ck out the Hollister Freelance Newspaper.

  10. 10 tommy Jan 9th, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I’m all for helping out especially local business’! Been to Johnny’s MANY times. However, It’s my understanding that she’s going to remodel and then sell it?!? Why would ask for help if in turn you’re going to sell Charisse?

  11. 11 local831 Jan 9th, 2014 at 10:22 am

    I’m from Hollister, and rumors have it she’s renovating the place so she can sell it.

    So sure, the place needs work, but it still WORKS.
    Lots of locals call Johnny’s home; it’s not just a once-a-year biker bar.
    It’s a nice place (better than a lot of places in the area when it comes to atmosphere, only the 19th Hole has them beat) with good bartenders with heavy hands.

    She’s asking a lot for the place as-is – which is why no one’s biting.
    So her begging for cash for renovations just to allegedly ditch the place is insulting to me.
    Help her if you want, but I feel like she’s not telling the whole story here.

    And if the place gets turned into a craft-brew hipster-hole, you only have yourselves to blame.

  12. 12 Lyle Landstrom Jan 9th, 2014 at 10:47 am

    So where’d all the profit go over all these years? My bike was at Hollister too but I’m not asking for money to restore it.

  13. 13 bigitch Jan 9th, 2014 at 11:10 am

    doesn’t anybody remember the recent article on Bikers Against Drunk Drivers (BADD) and how he was bliking the kindness of the biking community. is this another ruze?

    ‘if you ask the bikers they will give’

  14. 14 Kroeter Jan 9th, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Be interesting to see in the next 3, 5, 10+ years as the Boomers pass on how many of these types of motorcycle-related businesses and companies stick around.

  15. 15 west coast diva Jan 9th, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Call Bar Rescue

  16. 16 Terence Tory Jan 9th, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    If its “history” it should be organised as a trust and governed as such,not a private holding.If a business can’t get finance at historically ridiculous low interest rates,you really should have a look at the business model.Once the boomers have wobbled off into the roadside ditch of history,the Hipsters will be satisfied with “pop-up” history as they are now with Steve McQueen jackets and a Café racer retro culture that never really existed.The current young rider is more interested in image and images than anything real.From Nickelodeon in the cradle,to Deus T shirts,they are style culture vultures from birth with their imaginings done by others.

  17. 17 Drake Jan 9th, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Terence Young wrote : “a Café racer retro culture that never really existed” Really?

    Each website has a moron among its readers. You all know his “name”, although he doesn’t want to say who really he is, too afraid to be recognized when riding his 3-wheel mini bicycle under the supervision of his mother.

  18. 18 Terence Tory Jan 9th, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Drake,well the ball is in your court Drake.Show me a bike called a “café racer” in a magazine image before ’69.The Brit speedsters were always called Rockers or Ton-up Boys.The term “café racer” popped up decades after blokes going to the Ace Café had put clip-ons on the Beeza to top the ton.Much,much later the guys who could ride fast would laugh at pretenders posing in front cafes and call them “Cafe Racers” in disgust.”Cafe Racer Culture” is only “real”,constructed,and imagined in retrospect.If there was one bike club with “Café Racer” in their name in the sixties I would be somewhat amazed.”Café Racer Culture” is based on about as much real history as a couple of small rocks in the soil near Stonehenge tell you who the construction company was..

    If you build a stripped Indian Sport Scout,guys built them back in the day.If you build a retro Panhead bobber,people rode them.If you build a digger Sportster,people rode them.If you build a retro pop-up Café Racer,well you have built a retro pop-up Café Racer.Pop-up history built to order:dreamy Dream dreams for beardy Hipster hootenannies.

    The last trike I rode was well away from mommy and would do great vertical wheelies at 50 MPH.You should try it sometime,Drake

  19. 19 James just another Crazy Kiwi Jan 9th, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    That’s a difficult one, because that place is to bikers what Jerusalem is to a number of faiths.

    I have the Life magazine with the Staged photo of supposedly Tulare Dave of the Tulare Raiders.
    Plus lots of articles about the place Including one in Classic bike from a witness who saw the staging of the photos.
    I have studied that photo and the others many times and the bike is very cool. It looks like it has a chrome primary ?

    I also the 1951 Harpers magazine with Frank Rooney’s story “Cyclists Raid” that triggered the movie the Wild One.
    Lots of other stuff as well.But as said before I am a train spotter.

    If it is true and the place needs help I will give, but it would be nice to know the future of such hallowed ground.
    Will it be restored to it’s 40’s look.
    Will she keep it for sometime and make sure it is there for many visitors to follow.
    Can someone please find out

  20. 20 Rodent Jan 9th, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I don’t know shit about Cafe Culture but in the mid 60’s I rode a Norton Dunstall equipped with Clip-ons, rear-sets, finned front brake drum, Dunstall tank, seat, & fairing on the mean streets of the Big Rotten Apple I.e. Manhattan Island, NYC while I sold motorcycles for Camrod NYC. Just another Snotin Norton!

  21. 21 Mike Greenwald Jan 9th, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Can you get a discount on PEET (( Somebody knows it isn’t raining.

  22. 22 James just another Crazy Kiwi Jan 10th, 2014 at 4:19 am

    Not that it has any thing to do with Hollister, the Café culture has it’s beginning’s in the 30’s
    Read your history books.
    There were many many cafes,.usualy just truck stops or as they were called in England and here in those days Lorry’s

    Whatever ! !

  23. 23 .357 Magnum Jan 10th, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Nothing goes with motorcycling like DRINKING ALCOHOL, amirite?


  24. 24 JSDiamond Jan 13th, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    A staged photo by law enforcement and then decades later “rally cancelled at the behest of law enforcement…” –know your enemy; it’s the people you don’t need insisting that you need them. And yes, I’m donating.

  25. 25 fuji Jan 13th, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Bell End is back

  26. 26 Mike Jan 14th, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Not only saving Johnny’s , Charise has always been very helpful keeping the Rally idea alive.

    Johnny’s is a real big deal in the Hollister Rally Culture.

    Let’s support people who actually take action in supporting our industry.

  27. 27 Johnny's Cat Jan 15th, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    A lot of questions have been asked and I will do my best to answer them all to everyone’s satisfaction. The biggest concern most people seem to have is that I am fixing Johnny’s up to sell it off. I have been very straightforward about wanting to sell the bar and move on with my writing life but I have also said numerous times that I don’t plan on selling it to just anybody. I have poured 19 years of my life, heart and soul, into Johnny’s and it is the place it is today because of my hard work and dedication.
    When I bought the bar it had been called It’s Showtime for a year. The person that sold the bar to Dani Merrill who I bought it from told her that she could not use the name Johnnies because she still held the rights to it. That would have been enough to send me on my merry way telling her to go find another buyer. I was also informed that I could not change the name back for the same reason. Therefore, It’s Showtime, formerly Johnnies Bar and Grill, became Johnny’s Bar & Grill. If I hadn’t purchased Johnny’s and been dogged about retaining it’s iconic name it’s very possible that it would not be here for people to enjoy today.
    Now that I got that off of my chest, back to the issue of selling Johnny’s. If all I cared about was moving on with my life I would sell it for less than I believe it is worth to any Tom, Dick or Harry, and move on. I cannot and will not do that because I want the person who takes over my legacy to have the heart for it that I do. I want them to care as much about its history and its place in the community as I do and I want a fair price. It has become evident to me that may not happen in the very near future. I am doing this renovation to put the fire back in my heart for the place I love so much. Breathing fresh air into the establishment will help me to stay enthused while waiting for the right buyer.
    Why don’t I just go get a loan, Rodent wants to know? Anyone who has tried to get a small business loan in today’s economic environment knows that it is much easier said than done. I know the perils and haven’t jumped through that hoop yet because I truly believe that there are many bikers out there who would take pride in giving help to the Birth Place of the American Biker. I am also offering many incentives for helping.
    That brings me to the fact that some people seem to believe that because of past rallies I should be rolling in money and not be asking for the help in the first place. Unlike the bars in Sturgis that make so much money because of their rally that they can close up shop eleven months of the year, I’ve had to survive the economic downturn all year long. Our rally lasts three days, not three weeks. I hire 30 extra employees and have lots of expenditures related to the rally. I have never charged a dime to get into the bar. It is a fantastic weekend for me and I am able to put money away for important things like workman’s comp, liability insurance and taxes, to name a few.
    Without a rally for five years the savings dried up while the bills kept coming. When we purchased our home we had a rally and things were great. My house payment didn’t go down when the rally was canceled and refinancing has become impossible. My PG&E bills for the bar and my home went up and my water bill quadrupled. Naysayers do the math.
    The people that know me understand completely why I started the Kickstarter program. They know my heart and they know how much Johnny’s gives back to our community’s local charities, rally or no rally. I love our bar and I love our community. I love bikers and have a special place in my heart for my Boozefighters.
    If you walk into my place and sock a man in the face and then kick him while he is down on the ground you can bet I will turn my video surveillance tapes over to the authorities, no matter what club you belong to. Wrong is wrong and I have rules. That is why Johnny’s is a comfortable place that a lady can feel good about coming to alone. That is why Johnny’s appeals to people from all walks of life. It is what makes Johnny’s the friendliest bar in San Benito County.
    I’ve got a long way to go to reach my Kickstarter goal and not much time to do it. What happens if we don’t make it? We’ll make the improvements that we can and wait until the next rally when we have more money to implement the others. I’m praying that we make it though, because I am really excited to see the improvements and anyone who knows me knows that patience is not my middle name. God bless, Cat

  28. 28 Blackmax Jan 15th, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Never been that far west to Hollister CA, but hope to visit someday
    I hope it’s still there in responsible hands

  29. 29 nicker Jan 16th, 2014 at 12:52 am

    “… a special place in my heart for my Boozefighters…”

    A “club name” now “owned” by the HA….???


  30. 30 BFMC Jan 16th, 2014 at 1:30 am

    Nobody owns the Boozefighters MC name but the Boozefighters.

  31. 31 Johnny's Cat Jan 16th, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks for clarifying that for the peeps. That comment threw me.

  32. 32 nicker Jan 16th, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    “…Nobody owns the Boozefighters MC name but the Boozefighters…”

    Looking to confirm different story told in NorCal.
    Apparently its not true….. ???


  33. 33 Charisse Tyson Feb 5th, 2014 at 8:06 am

    With the encouragement of our backers, I’m re-launching my Kickstarter program. We hope to pay for the plumbing renovations, Kickstarter incentives and the cost of the program. The lower goal is much more realistic but it leaves quite a deficit for our renovation needs. If we should surpass the new goal we will use all funds to cover the other renovation projects. I’ve beefed up some of the incentives (including rights to carpet removal via burnout).

    I applied for a small business loan with the same bank that I opened my Johnny’s account with 19 years ago and was quite disappointed. Apparently an A+ credit rating, a long standing and stellar relationship with the financial institution and a great reputation in the community is not enough to acquire a loan if your last tax return doesn’t meet the criteria. With that said, we won’t be able to afford to replace the flooring until after the Hollister Motorcycle Rally. That’s where the idea to let someone do burnouts after the rally came in. Post rally we usually close for a day to put things back together and clean the place up. This year I’ll close for two days and replace the flooring instead of cleaning the carpets. On Monday July 6th two lucky contributors can help us remove the old flooring with their motorcycles. How much fun is that?

    We so appreciate the wonderful folks who backed us the first time and we hope you all decide to kick in again. For those of you who missed the opportunity this is a second chance and we value your help more than we can say. Thanks again and God bless, Charisse Tyson

    You can check out the new program here

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Cyril Huze