Carnelian Bay, a new neotropical sci-fi bar in Fremont, opened on the covered patio of Dreamland Bar and Diner on June 10. The new bar is an expansion of the sci-fi world owner Paul Shanrock started three years when he opened another Fremont bar, the popular Stampede Cocktail Club, in 2018.
The cocktails at Stampede were always well-balanced and satisfying, but what drew people to the bar was the immersive experience Shanrock created there, from the Cowboy Bebop-style decorations to the mystery narratives he unveiled little by little through blurbs next to cocktails on the menu — and during pandemic shutdowns, through comic books, doled out a few pages at a time with takeout orders, bringing customers along for adventures through time and space.
Shanrock bought Dreamland Bar and Diner two years ago and turned it into a popular community gathering space with events like drag brunches held every Saturday. But as he got adjusted to running his businesses during a pandemic, he wanted to expand the world he’d started at Stampede: enter Carnelian Bay, what he describes as a “luxury resort on a subtropical moon,” built with fake tropical plants, a massive tiger-shaped fountain, and artificial rock structures, on the covered patio next to Dreamland.
Carnelian Bay, Shanrock says, exists on a planet called Blish. There’s a race of tiger-humanoid people that have gone missing on the planet and bar-goers must figure out why they’ve disappeared. The narratives of Carnelian Bay and Stampede are now intertwined, he says, and solving the mystery requires going to both bars.
With the Carnelian Bay expansion at Dreamland comes a new, tiki-inspired cocktail menu with pearl divers, toasted marshmallow daiquiris, and tequila drinks in cobra mugs, along with ten brand new cocktails that, through blurbs, will tell the next story in Shanrock’s universe. There’s also a new food menu Shanrock describes as “neotropical,” with loco moco, honey walnut torpedo shrimp, deconstructed crab rangoons, a green papaya salad, and kimchi pineapple pork belly skewers, generally smaller snacks compared to the big, meaty plates and sandwiches Dreamland has become known for.
Shanrock grew up obsessed with classic sci-fi, from Dune to Star Wars. “I’m a big nerd,” he says. So when he started owning bars, he wanted the customer to always feel like the main character in a fantasy world he constructed. Though he says Stampede is clear ode to Cowboy Bebop, he constructed Carnelian Bay with Dan Haskett of Haskett Works with influences from all the pop culture the world has to offer.
“We’re just trying to be the Copacabana in space, and have a really good time,” Shanrock says.
Carnelian Bay is located in the same building as Dreamland Bar and Diner at 3401 Evanston Avenue N.