Hammers and Happy Hour putting Woodminster on the Map

MONTCLARION: April 14, 2011

Woodminster is springing to life, and it’s not even summer theater season. Yes, the sleepy little business district is getting a boost from a new hardware store and the growing popularity of Monaghan’s on the Hill.

You may have heard by now that Montclair Village Hardware has opened in Woodminster after 64 years of doing business in the Village.

Owner Erik Hoffmann says it’s a bittersweet move, but he’s saving plenty in rent and has added a whole extra aisle of merchandise in his bigger location at 5048 Woodminster Lane.

With the money he’s saving, he’s treated himself to a new “baby” — a computerized paint matcher and automated paint mixing machine that should make contractors and homeowners happy.

Meanwhile, Monaghan’s owners Dave and Sharon Newell are seeing business steadily increase in their neighborhood restaurant and pub and are keen on making Woodminster a destination. They’ve even put up a “Welcome to Woodminster” sign at the entrance to the business district. Yes, it also includes an arrow pointing to Monaghan’s, but most people don’t mind a little self-promotion. It’s all part of the plan to put this appealing little shopping district back on the map.

CRIME BEAT: There’s nothing quite as unsettling as stumbling on a burglary in progress. Several readers say they’ve come home to find thieves ransacking — then running from — their houses. In each case the spoils have been laptops and jewelry — easy to grab if they’re out in the open.

What irks reader Kevin Becraft is the lack of police response. After his own home was burglarized in broad daylight, he says he couldn’t get police to show up.

“We finally had to submit a report via the web (which was fortunate that we still had a computer as our other two laptops were part of the items stolen),” he writes.

DIG IT: Come on, guys. We know you like to dig in the dirt, so why aren’t you joining the Hillside Gardeners of Montclair? The women are doing all the work in this 64-year-old organization. By the way, the club’s 2011 Garden Tour is from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. May 1. Eight great gardens — one more than an acre in size — are being featured, with the ticket proceeds going to horticulture scholarships and community outreach. Call 510-530-1681 or email hgmgardens@gmail.com for more.

TIME OUT: My item on the new Freight & Salvage prompted reader Debbie Beck to share her favorite Berkeley nightclub. She says Starry Plough has Sunday night Irish music jams.

“Shay Black organizes them,” she says, “and anyone can bring a fiddle, drum, voice — even dance.” If you’ve never done a jig with a pint in your hand, this is your chance.

And speaking of good times, renowned mixologist Luis Dehora has come up with a winner for the 12th annual Best Martini in the East Bay competition this June at the Lafayette Park Hotel. The Brazilian bartender is entering a pretty-in-pink cocktail he calls “Elegance.” It’s got bubble and blush and the way Luis shakes it is pure poetry.


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