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33 votes

Farwood Bar & Grill

705 5th St, Orland, California 95963 USA

  • Outdoor
  • Wifi

“A bar with history”

The building that Farwood Bar & Grill occupies today was reportedly built in 1916 as a gentleman's bar called the Richelieu. It was a very popular social venue for the town's businessmen to quench their thirst and conduct business. The safe that is restored and displayed in Farwood was used to hold merchants' money on weekends to be transferred to the bank on Monday. There is a commonly told story that there was a circumstance when the old Bank of America was not able to open their safe, so the money from the safe at the Richelieu was used to enable the bank to open and do business until the safe problem was solved.    The history of the beautifully carved oak bar in Farwood is well known to area residents.   It was made in England, shipped around Cape Horn at the south end of South America, and functioned as a bar in San Francisco for an unknown number of years. In 1916, it was barged up the Sacramento River to be installed in the Richelieu and has remained there ever since.      In 2005, when Bob & Jan Walker purchased the building, the business, which did not remain a gentleman's bar, was closed.  Their decision to purchase the property was based primarily on the existence of the bar.  At that time, it was coal black (from over a hundred years of cigarette smoke), and was in need of repair. When renovations began on the building, the bar was taken apart as much as possible and transferred to a shop on the Walkers' farm. It spent the winter there being stripped and sanded, and then lovingly repaired by a local wood craftsman, Bob Nordbye. He also extended the front bar portion and crafted a handicapped bar to exactly match the beautiful bowed front of the original. He made molds of the cherubs' heads to repair the one cherub who had been decapitated, and it is sometimes a matter of discussion to see if former Richelieu patrons can remember which cherub it was that needed repair.         No photos have ever surfaced of the very early days of the Richelieu, so the theme of "1916 Gentlemen's Bar" was used to create the atmosphere that surrounds the bar today. The modern conveniences such as heating & air and sound systems are all camouflaged in the coffered ceilings with a copper embossed ceiling accented by amber glass fans. The color of the wainscoting and ceiling are reminiscent of red mahogany which was popular wood of the time.     There are many original oil paintings in Farwood, many of which reflect the Walkers' occupation and life lived with horses. It also showcases a few of Bob's collection of horse show posters which vary from European horse shows, Virginia steeplechase races, our local Californios horse show, and the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden.      Many people ask how the Farwood name came about. When the Walkers' children were younger, they raised crossbred Welsh ponies which are very popular for children riding hunters. One of the Walkers' favorite broodmares was from a famous line of Welsh ponies from the Farnley Farm. They took the "Far" from Farnley, and the "Wood" from where they lived in the Wooden Valley in Napa County, and created their own farm name: Farwood. When it came to name the restaurant, and it was decided that it wasn't desirous to continue the Richelieu reputation, their daughter picked their farm name, and it became Farwood Bar & Grill.

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  • 7 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
July 24, 2014
Rated 3.0

Very friendly wait staff and managers who came by and checked on us often. Teens each ordered the pulled pork sandwich. I had a burger which was a little over cooked. Husband and I split the garlic fries- literally was shaved garlic and herbs; a little strong. All the locals seemed to stop there for food and the setting/ambiance was nice.

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Farwood Bar & Grill

705 5th St
Orland, California
95963 USA

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  • Outdoor Seating
  • Wifi
  • Street Parking
  • Free Parking
  • Yes Parking

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