Deliberation Room livening up downtown


The Deliberation Room is one of the newest additions to Downtown Stockton.

Located on North California Street, Stocktonians walking through the streets of the downtown can stop and have a drink at this Prohibition-era themed bar and restaurant.

“The owner of this restaurant owns also San Joaquin Family Law on this block,” said Melanie Sakaoghli, manager of The Deliberation Room. “He was the first business to reopen on this block and he did a lot of research about this area, and up and down California St. back in the 20’s, there was a lot of speakeasies.”

Owner Jacob Loyal Benguerel also designed the San Joaquin Family Law building with the same feel as The Deliberation Room.

When entering the bar, one could look to the right and see an old-fashioned mugshot lineup wall where they can have a picture taken.

The bar is dimly lit. Behind it is a brick wall that adds to the aesthetic, along with a street lamp in the back near an old, functioning piano provided by Alex Thompson, the man revitalising The Henery Hotel nearby.

Black and white movies and television shows play on the flat screen above the bar and classic swing music and artists like Frank Sinatra are played in the background.

Business is going good for The Deliberation Room.

“We have really good themed parties,” Sakaoghli said. “We had a really nice Halloween one, which kind of set it off. And then we went ahead and did a prohibition party in the beginning of December, which was amazing, we filled this whole place out.”

The bar also hosted a Masquerade Ball for New Years Eve, a voodoo mardi gra and a St. Patrick’s themed event.

“That’s our thing, it’s really worked for us,” Sakaoghli said.

The theme of The Deliberation Room follows through to  the food and drinks.

“We do have a couple items that we don’t think people will find anywhere else,” Sakagholi said. “We do a lot of paninis and flatbreads.”

Salads and wings and other foods are also served on the menu.

“Our drinks, we have a list of specialty cocktails, and pretty much what they are are twists on classic cocktails. So we try to keep it with old school drinks from that era, a lot of our drinks are whisky and gin drinks because back in the twenties, there was just whisky and gin.

There wasn’t vodka yet, there wasn’t rum, there wasn’t tequila, none of that stuff got imported yet.”

Once a month on Friday nights, The Deliberation Room has comedy shows in addition to live music every Saturday night from different bands and a DJ when bands aren’t present.

The bar also plans on doing something for Cinco de Mayo.

The negative stigma downtown Stockton has could keep people from going down there and taking in all of the new businesses and things to see. Sakaogholi wasn’t sure what to expect when she applied online.

“I was like ‘should I dress up for it (interview),because it’s for bartending or should I not? Thank god I did because I walked in the door and I was completely shocked, and it was before the outside was finished, so you really didn’t know what was going on in here.

The area outside is not what people think. It’s actually quite safe down here, I have not personally had any issues down here, and neither has any of out customers that we’re aware of.”

The Deliberation Room is a one of a kind bar and restaurant that recaptures the aesthetic the 1920s had in Stockton and is well worth a try.