Co-owned by Steve Yeng and his family, who came to OB originally as Cambodian refugees, the new tri-level, 21-plus bar and every-night music venue at 5046 Newport Ave. opened July 4.
Yeng co-owns OB Noodle House & Sake Bar at 2218 Cable St. and OB Noodle House Bar 1502 at 4993 Niagara Ave. The Yengs invested a total of $10 million into purchasing the property and a months-long remodel to add a kitchen and two additional levels to the former Irish bar, increasing seating capacity to 500-plus guests.
The Holding Co. will bring in such major musical acts as Sprung Monkey, Slightly Stoopid, the Ataris, Alien Ant Farm, Afroman, Rooney, Mickey Avalon and Janis Joplin’s original band Big Brother & the Holding Company.
Steve Yeng co-owns The Holding Co. with brothers Kyle and Scott, who will be running the new venue. He has been working on the project for six years.
“I’m a huge fan of Irish music, but you can’t play Irish music seven days a week,” he said. “It just doesn’t mix well with the beach crowd.”
Adde Yeng, "I’ve always wanted to get on Newport Avenue and do something totally different.”
Citing Winston’s in OB as a model, Yeng said, “I wanted to follow their footsteps.”
But the building The Holding Co. is in was not designed for acoustics, so it had to be completely redone.
“The walls were thin and not soundproofed,” Yeng said. “We put in a new state-of-the-art sound system. The aesthetics were inspired by Jules Verne and ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.’”
Yeng said the wide range of music played at The Holding Co. “will primarily focus on local acts. It’s something that hasn’t been done in an entertainment complex close to the beach.”
Music programming will range from rock to hip hop and include national acts.
Yeng said his new restaurant-bar and music venue will be attention grabbing.
“We’re trying to take you layer by layer and your eyes are going to want to be looking everywhere with all the local art and the gears moving, etc.,” he said.
He added the new facility, open to families during the day, is reasonably priced.
The new multi-level entertainment venue was designed by Davis Ink (Parq, Sidebar, Stingaree) invoking Jules Verne and steampunk. The facility’s ground floor features a bar and nightly entertainment, from live music to DJs, hosted on a stage hung with a floating zeppelin structure.
Moving cogs adorn a staircase leading to the second floor that houses the main dining area, a second bar, and an elevated patio. A rooftop lounge boasts stunning views of the ocean and OB pier.
A standout drink is the owners’ Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, featured both in cocktails and the food menu.
The Holding Co.’s executive chef Ryan Ahrens, and chef de cuisine Fermin Tinamisan, both worked at Stake Chophouse in Coronado. They will be creating a pho dip sandwich made with wagyu brisket cooked in pho broth, sizzling dry-rubbed salmon served with chicken rice, and shaken beef made with wok-tossed filet mignon. OB Noodle House classics, including the house garlic wings and house special Saigon fried rice, will also be available.
Restaurateur Yeng his family were Chinese refugees in Cambodia. His dad hunted wild game and sold it at their refugee camp, while his mom helped the family out by sewing clothes and selling them.
“Our family was sponsored by an OB family who didn't have children to come to the States,” Yeng said. “We came here literally with $20 in our pockets and didn't speak English.”
In late 2007, Steven got a chance to start his own business when a space opened up at Cable Street and Voltaire.
“They called it the 'war zone' because no businesses had ever survived there for long except for dive bars,” Yeng said. “We started with just four tables, and then expanded next door when business exploded."
Yeng believes strongly in giving back to the community. So much so that, in 2015, he was voted OB Citizen of the Year.
The Holding Company
5046 Newport Ave.
Hours: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays-Fridays, noon to 2 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Last call is 1:30 a.m.