Located along Napa’s picturesque riverfront, the building that houses Downtown Joe’s is a historical gem that’s been a favorite of locals and visitors since it opened its doors in 1893. Steeped in rich history, this iconic property has survived fires and earthquakes to emerge as a beloved gathering spot for food and beer enthusiasts alike.
Now considered one of the city’s best brewery and restaurant establishments, our river view eatery has a reputation for serving delectable cuisine that tantalizes the taste buds. But a visit to Downtown Joe’s goes far beyond an exceptional dining experience. It also boasts a vibrant atmosphere with live music that sets the stage for unforgettable evenings. To complete the experience, guests can indulge in our finely crafted beers, local wines, and innovative cocktails that beautifully complement their delicious meals.
A Little History of Downtown Joe’s
Downtown Joe’s began as a general store named The Oberon. Napa locals would stop in for everything from haircuts to cigars and a refreshing cold beer or two. However, the cherished hangout was dealt a devastating blow in 1932 when a quick-spreading fire left the building in ruins.
In just two years, the restored Oberon building was once again welcoming guests, including as a stomping ground for boxing legend Rocky Marciano. In 2010, the building underwent a meticulous seismic retrofit which saved it from another structural catastrophe during the formidable Napa earthquake in 2014. To this day, our restaurant contributes to seismic research via a small seismograph!
Downtown Joe’s brewing legacy began in 1985 when Chuck Ankeny, the great-grandson of famed Minnesota brewer Theodore Hamms, decided to start a microbrewery in the Napa region. By 1988, he and Santa Rosa brewmaster Brian Hunt launched their seven-barrel microbrewery and called it Willit’s Brewery.
In 1993, local residents Joe and Nancye Peatman, along with Joe Ruffino, acquired Willit’s Brewery and gave birth to the Downtown Joe’s we know and love today. In 1999, brewmaster Colin Kaminski joined our team, later taking over brewery operations. With the support of their loved ones, the Peatmans are proud to carry on the tradition of a warm and inviting neighborhood brewery and restaurant, treating each person who walks through its doors as a cherished family member.
As Napa continues to evolve into a vibrant travel destination, Downtown Joe’s has remained true to its humble origins. It stands as a treasured connection to Old Napa’s rustic charm and the incredible people who called it home before “King Grape” took hold.
Add Historic Downtown Joe’s to Your Napa Visit
No visit to Napa would be complete without immersing yourself in the rich history and vibrant atmosphere of Downtown Joe’s, where you can take in relaxing river views, enjoy good food and live music, and indulge in some of the region’s best craft beers. With its deep-rooted connection to Napa’s past and inviting modern amenities, we’re an essential stop on your Napa itinerary, promising an unforgettable experience steeped in tradition and charm.
We now accept phone-in reservations up to four hours before seating time, 24-hour advance online reservations, and walk-ins are always welcome!