Teddy Perkins, Stampede’s resident Allosaurus, keeps an eye on diners and drinkers in Stampede’s speakeasy-like front room. Owner Paul Shanrock said he and friends built out the entire bar in six weeks, and wanted to keep it fun and funky.
Teddy Perkins, Stampede’s resident Allosaurus, keeps an eye on diners and drinkers in Stampede’s speakeasy-like front room. Owner Paul Shanrock said he and friends built out the entire bar in six weeks, and wanted to keep it fun and funky.

Out in Fremont for a late night? Not sure where you can get some dumplings, an inventive cocktail and an Instagram photo of a dinosaur head?

You’re in luck, reader with highly-specific needs, as Paul Shanrock’s Stampede Cocktail Club is newly open to meet all your needs.

After an exhausting (and slammed) first week in business, Shanrock said he’s starting to think he did things right.

“I didn’t anticipate how busy we were going to be,” he said.

With funky jungle wallpaper and a mounted dinosaur head (an Allosaurus named Teddy Perkins) in a speakeasy-like front room, and a muted, warm atmosphere in the main bar area, Stampede beckons you to stay a while and try something new.

Something like “A Lovely Day for Bloodsport,” an Italian-inspired cocktail with grappa, bitters, vermouth and black lemon. The citrusy, grape-musty sweetness is perfect for watching gladiators die in the Colosseum... or something less gory, I suppose.

Some of the most popular cocktails from Stampede’s opening week include the Desert Poetry – a tequila, passionfruit, pineapple, lime, agave syrup and Apertivo mix – and the floral, herbal bourbon and apricot drink Memory Blade.

“Yes, we wanted a place to chase a wild hare and make whatever cocktails we want,  but we also want this to be a Fremont gathering place,” he said. “We try to be very unpretentious about our cocktails. We want you to come, have a drink, go out on the patio and shout at the moon.”

With most signature drinks coming in at $10, that seems to be a fairly on-message price point (with the exception of the $22 Skellige Isles, a pricy treat).

Shanrock, a Reno, Nevada native, cut his teeth in some other cocktail bars in town, including Rocco’s, Joli and Rider. One thing he has found a lot of cocktail bars lack is a strong mentorship program to make better bartenders.

“I was working at a bar, when someone quit and I had to take over, I was there for a year and the owners told me, “you kinda suck, dude,”” he said. “I’m like, I know I suck, I had no training.”

He hopes to build up an excellent cocktail program and have friendly, hospitable bartenders.

“Cocktails are only 49 percent of bartending,” Shanrock said. “The rest is hospitality.”

Part of that includes making sure patrons are fed, so a steamed box of $7 dumplings made by Greenwood stalwarts Little Ting’s Dumplings is available in both chicken and pork from the kitchen.

With chili oil, a lemon-vinegar mix and the “money honey” Stampede Sauce (honey mustard meets garlic aioli meets awesomeness), you have a bevy of choices for those little dumplings.

Stampede, located at 119 N. 36th St., took over from the place formerly occupied by The Helm, a short-lived appetizer and cocktail bar.

On the first floor of a two-story house smack in Fremont’s busiest street, the vibe is half beach cantina, half Wild West saloon.  Wood and brass fill the interior, and lights can be changed for different moods.

As we chat, the tones of Childish Gambino wash over us. This is a different kind of place.

“All my friends came down and gave 110 percent and we built it out in six weeks,” Shanrock said. “One friend would be hanging the drapes at four in the morning while I was asleep in the booth. It was crazy. I lived here... I still do!”

The Jungle Room, which Teddy watches over, is a little lighter and brighter. A decently large bar and communal table fill out the rest of the interior, although the large patio will be a big summer draw.

Inside or outside, good cocktails, food and conversation are definitely in store for Stampede Cocktail Club.