Mardi Gras Party in Bodega
The Casino Bar and Grill in Bodega will host a benefit party this Saturday, February 13 with all profits going to Sadie’s Haven Horse Rescue and Sanctuary. The Casino, as it is best known, will be serving up gumbo and rice for $10 per person between 11am-4pm. A silent auction and a contest for best Mardi Gras mask will be part of the festivities.
Sadie’s non-profit horse rescuing mission was established in 2009 in the west Sonoma countryside and relies on volunteers, donations, and fundraisers to support its care of 20-25 horses. These are often older horses that have been neglected, abandoned, or abused. Some have been saved just in time to keep from being illegally sold and slaughtered in a black market dealing in horse meat for overseas dining clients. The staff at Sadie’s, named after a white mare that was rescued, works with these animals in order to restore their health, both physical and mental. Adoptions to new and caring owners occur when possible, but if a horse is determined to be non-adoptable, it has a home for life at Sadie’s.
The Casino has hosted and donated to a variety of causes over the years. It was founded in 1939 and is much like an old Irish pub in which whole families come to meet and eat. Children are not allowed after 10 pm. By the way, it is not and never has been a gambling casino. The name comes from the Casini family who has owned it for 70 years. Pub food, pool tables, and a big-screen TV are only part of the draw for visitors and locals.
For visitors, it is a great roadside house, one of the few left in Sonoma county, and it sits at the foot of two older, famous buildings in the small town. Those familiar with Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 horror flick “The Birds” will recognize both the Old Schoolhouse and the St. Teresa of Avila Church used in the movie. While filming was done in Bodega and out on the coast in Bodega Bay, The Casino became one of the favorite hangouts for crew and cast. Above the bar, there are still three fake, black birds used in the film which were given to the owner. Avid fans stop in here too looking for traces of the movie that never seems to lose its macabre appeal. For this writer, often when I am asked where I live, the response, even after all these years, is “Where ‘The Birds’ was filmed?!”
For the locals, The Casino has long been a community gathering place for celebrations, informal town meetings, and just chewing the fat. It is also a great, warm place to take shelter for a while during the sometimes long power outages that the West county experiences nearly every winter.