Part 1: Rolling Thunder Saloon

By Britt Nelson

The old dusty dive bar is gone and it’s place — at Jaco’s most notorious location – is the all new Rolling Thunder Saloon offering an exciting motorcycle-themed atmosphere with live music where locals and tourists from around the globe can meet up seven-days-a-week and enjoy cold adult beverages, a better-than-average bar menu with gracious and downright cute servers.

“This is not the old Beatle Bar,” said owner Jimmy Stalara. “Rolling Thunder is destined to be Jaco’s answer to the House of Blues. This is already the largest restaurant-bar-music venue in Jaco. We will keep having live music acts as often as possible. We hope to develop a house band using local musicians.”

Once Stalara had control of the building — from previous owners late in 2019 — the demolition team took over. Out went the old tiled and wood bar replaced with a bright and beautiful black granite-like shiny bar top with colorful lighting at night.

The interior of the building has been drastically alerted into an open-concept space complete with a new sound stage in the rear, overhead lighting and sound system for live musical acts from around the region. This open-air restaurant-bar – on main street next to city park — is now constantly cooled by 26 new tropical ceiling fans keeping it breezy and comfortable inside.

On the menu is a surprising selection of vegan dishes, New York steak, BBQ pork ribs, wings, delicious tempura shrimp, red snapper, fish tacos and tasty salads.

“Chef Fernando and his team are very good. He’s experimenting with different dishes that appeal to our patrons,” Stalara said. “His menu is well rounded and priced right. There’s something for every taste.”

On Sunday afternoons — in recent weeks — live rock & roll bands have brought in large crowds with standing room only. The seating capacity at Rolling Thunder is being increased to its maximum at around 150 plus standing room.

“People here like having live music during the afternoons instead of 9 or 10 pm like downtown,” said Stalara. “We will also be having live music in the evenings during the week as well.”

Future bookings include the ever-popular ‘Ben Jammin’ and the Howlers’ from Quepos and ‘Hypnotic Eye’ of Jaco Beach. Both groups play classic rock & roll which will be a staple for future live acts.

The Steel Angles Motorcycle Club will have their annual anniversary party at Rolling Thunder March 20 & 21st. The Steel Angles will also be inviting other clubs from around Costa Rica for the 2-day biker rally.

All in all, the future is bright for the Rolling Thunder Saloon. That location will always be known as where the old Beatle Bar was – Jaco’s first real hooker bar that, night-after-night, was packed with men from around the world looking for love.

About the only thing that remains from the old Beatle Bar is the tile floor. It’s a safe bet that since it opened in early 2002 more than one-million people have walked on that floor. But Stalara said even the old floor will be redone in coming months.

Opening the Rolling Thunder Saloon was a natural for Stalara. He’s been doing business in Jaco for years as owner of Jaco Beach Golf Cart & Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Rentals across the street from the saloon. He’s also been an avid biker for 35 years.

Check out the Rolling Thunder Saloon on Facebook HERE