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Shooters will serve its last shot tonight

April 17, 2004

Alicia Robinson

After 26 years of slaking Costa Mesa's thirst -- and even longer in

the bartending business -- Greg McConaughy will pour his last jigger

tonight.

McConaughy will close Shooters Tequila Bar & Cafe in Costa Mesa,

which he has owned since 1978, to make way for a new restaurant that

is yet to be named. Eclectic entrepreneur Shaheen Sadeghi will

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redevelop Shooters' Baker Street site into a restaurant more in

keeping with the Camp and the Lab, both nearby on Bristol Street.

The Camp has an outdoorsy feel, with the yurt-shaped vegan

restaurant Native Foods and cycling and outdoor gear stores. The Lab

is hipper and edgier, with a used and vintage clothing store, a

barbershop called the Electric Chair and the artsy Gypsy Den Cafe.

"Our mission has always been to try to do something with that

restaurant that would fit more into the Camp culture, and I think

this gives us the opportunity to complete the final portion of the

project," Sadeghi said.

For now, customers of Shooters will have to figure out where to go

for lunch and socializing.

"I'm going to miss it," said Stan Weems, a computer software

contractor who started eating lunch at Shooters when he worked in the

area.

He liked Shooters because it's low-key and the people are

friendly, he said. Weems said he'll also have to find another place

to meet with his Harley motorcycle club, which had been holding its

monthly meetings at Shooters.

Shooters has been a meeting place for many people over the years,

said Jana McConaughy, Greg's wife. Before the two married, Jana had

worked for Greg at another bar he used to own.

"Throughout the years we've had a lot of long relationships

[between patrons] and we've had weddings," Jana McConaughy said.

Some of Shooters' longest relationships have been with its

employees. Assistant manager and bartender Michele Barnes has worked

at Shooters since 1985.

"It's been a blast," Barnes said. "I've loved working for Greg. I

wouldn't have stayed that long if I didn't like it."

Regular customers come in and she knows where they'll sit, what

they want to eat and drink, even what channel they want to see on TV.

But the best thing about the job is having a good boss, she said.

Greg McConaughy always encouraged her to take time off when she

needed to be with her family, she said.

"Where else can you go to work, socialize, basically wear jeans

and a T-shirt and make great money?" Barnes said.

The McConaughys said the bar has seen its share of changes over

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