The Wayfarer featured in the OC Register

The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa carries on Detroit Bar’s musical legacy

By Kelli Skye Fadroski / Staff Writer @ the OC Register

Jan. 21, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 12.51.46 PMSince beloved local music spot Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa closed its doors last February and the Wayfarer opened in its place in July, new owner Jeff Chon has kept his promise about continuing the tradition of live entertainment that highlights up-and-coming O.C. talent.

The space was once Club Mesa, a punk rock dive bar, until the Memphis Group took over in 2001 and transformed it into a more hip, inviting and lively spot. Detroit Bar was host to a wide variety of genres and nightly entertainment including DJ spotlights and the popular, and free, monthly Monday night local music residencies. Through the years, bigger-name acts like Stereolab, Modest Mouse, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Raveonettes and the late Elliott Smith graced the small stage and it was a place where now mainstream local bands like Cold War Kids, Foster the People and Young the Giant grew their audiences.

When it was announced that Detroit Bar would be permanently shut down, local musicians and frequent patrons quickly took to social media to share their memories, as well as concerns about losing yet another O.C. music venue. There was confusion over what would become of the building, which sparked disappointed outcries when rumor spread that it would be made into an upscale gastropub.

This was initially a headache for Chon, who is a Costa Mesa resident and also owner of the Alley Restaurant & Bar in Newport Beach and Tabu Shabu in Costa Mesa. He shakes his head and laughs about it now, as he sits down for a chat in the remodeled bar, restaurant and concert room. The space underwent a major face-lift, which included relocating and expanding the bar, adding a full kitchen, completely redoing the bathrooms, knocking down walls in the main room for a more open floor plan and better stage visibility, creating vaulted ceilings and adding in rustic, Americana decor.

“As you see, we’re not a gastropub,” Chon joked. “We do have food, but we’re certainly not serving up and pushing five-course meals here. The kitchen element was something Detroit always lacked and we wanted to be able to offer our guests really good food that’s fresh and not frozen, but simplified. So they can come in, catch a bite to eat and still enjoy a show.”

In keeping up with Detroit Bar’s music legacy, the sound system was also updated and is noticeably more crisp and clear than before.

“We’re still not 100 percent where we want to be with it,” Chon admitted. “We’ve been open seven months now and we’ve been making little changes here and there because it’s been a give and take with the variety of music we do here now … but it gives us a chance to hone in on our skills and make sure the sound is really good.”

The 300-capacity, 21-and-up only Wayfarer has continued the monthly Monday night residencies, along with booking several national touring acts in the electronic, blues, roots and indie rock genres. While there’s no cover charge for Monday residencies, as well as select other shows, depending on the time and artist booked, there are some door covers and ticketed shows that run between $5-$15. Eric Keilman, director of talent and booking for Wayfarer, who also booked acts at Detroit Bar, is excited to continue to pepper in homegrown, up-and-coming talent among larger acts.

“I want to see local bands grow out of here like they did at Detroit Bar,” he said. “There are a lot of artists now that have the same potential as some of those bigger bands – like Young the Giant and Cold War Kids – that came out of this corner and it’s important for them to have a place like this to play.”

Christopher Faris, vocalist and guitarist for local rock outfit the Devious Means, which is Wayfarer’s January Monday night resident band, said that although the venue name has changed, the stage still feels very familiar. The venue also hosted the album release party for band’s latest album, “Other Animals,” in September. Faris added that he was impressed with the new layout and decor, as well as the pride in ownership and friendly correspondence the venue staff has had with bands.

“When I heard Detroit Bar was leaving, I felt like it was was the end of an era, but that it was also for the best,” he said. “It had made its mark and it was really time for a change and this feels like an ideal replacement. It’s changed in a way that it feels like a brand new place, yet it still feels really good to be here.”

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The Wayfarer featured in Greer’s OC

Wayfaring on the Westside
By Greer Wylder | July 21, 2014


The long awaited Wayfarer, formerly the site of the iconic Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa just opened with a brand new look inside and out, including a stylish bar, small kitchen addition, upgraded acoustics, and state-of-the-art stage sound and lighting. The Wayfarer kept the “Detroit Stage”, paying homage to its history and continuing the legacy of live performance. Tickets are available at

Owner Jeffrey Chon is bringing his passion for the food and entertainment industries and is offering regular weekly entertainment ranging from reggae to live DJs to karaoke:

Mondays – Residency
Tuesdays – SoCal Reggae All Stars
Wednesdays – Britain’s Finest – Tribute to the Beatles
Thursdays – Live Music
Fridays – Upbeat Live/DJ Sets
Sunday Days – Matinee/Day Shows
Sunday Nights – Sunday Night Karoake

From the Wayfarer menu, you can order draft and bottled beers, wines, a long list of whiskeys, as well as bites such as KFC, a Korean fried chicken with spicy chili sauce and green onion ($10); Hamachi Crudo, a sashimi yellow tail with sea salt and yuzu citrus ($11); a burger with Angus chuck brisket mix, pork belly, and pickled onion ($9); Mom’s Mac with sharp cheddar, honey ham, pickled jalapeno ($7); Charred Peppers, shishito peppers, with miso togarashi marinade ($6); Fried bologna with mortadella, arugula, beer aioli, and gouda ($8); and Sweet Tooth, talenti gelato, a surprise flavor ($4).

Wayfarer also serves a simple, but perfect brunch: choose from a breakfast sandwich with French baguette, prosciutto, sautéed broccolini, tomato, arugula, and fried egg ($9); Sticky Bun French Toast with French-style puff pastry with cinnamon sugar and Chantilly cream ($7); and Benedict with baguette, poached egg, tomato, avocado, pork belly and Siracha hollandaise ($9).

Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday; and noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Wayfarer, A House of Social Provisions is at 843 W. 19th Street in Costa Mesa. 949.764.0039

Photo Credit: Jakubek Photography

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The Wayfarer featured in OC Weekly

The Wayfarer Books First Show, We Peek Inside
By Nate Jackson | May 21, 2014

We’ve all been anxiously awaiting news about The Wayfarer since owner Jeff Chon took over the skeleton of the shuttered Detroit Bar earlier this year. Last month, we noticed the new branding on the Costa Mesa club’s old Facebook page its main website. Recently, you may have noticed the curb side marquee on 19th St. trumpeting the change over. And yesterday evening, the club finally announced its very first show with rap legends EPMD on July 17. The New York duo are just in time to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their 1989 album Unfinished Business. Next on the calendar is a performance from LA band Kitten on July 25. The club will start selling tickets on its website this Thursday.


While we certainly dig The Wayfarer’s old-school approach to kicking off the building’s new chapter, the decision to keep the performance side of the venue tagged as “The Detroit Bar Stage” has some folks curious about Chon’s plans to proceed with his brand while still being tied to the old one. Considering all the changes he plans to make to the place, is it a smart move?

“Places don’t need to completely change in order to be great, I do think they need to evolve though,” says the 30 year-old restauranteur–who also spent plenty of nights at the venue himself while growing up around OC. Yesterday, we stood outside the venue with Chon as crews drilled and hammered away at his unfinished vision. Some of the old posters from the last week of Detroit’s existence were still clinging to the rear entrance door.

“Detroit has been what its been for over a decade, and it’s been great, but it hasn’t evolved and so that was my goal in thinking this place could evolve into staying the same thing at its foundation. It’s always been a cool hang out and a cool place for music, and that’s what we’re trying to keep it as.”

During a walkthrough with Chon, we got a chance to take a peak inside the unfinished new design of The Wayfarer. From our first impressions, it seems promising. The stage is still essentially gonna be in the same place as it was, give or take a little. The ceiling has been elevated, which should help with sound. The fact that they’re spending a ton of dough on some new sound equipment should help a little as well.

A newly extended bar and kitchen area are instant indicators that new food and drink programs are definitely on their way. Get ready for some high brow cocktails and fusion dishes like kimchee chorizo fried rice. Food will be ordered and served through a single walk up window with tables that can be set up or pulled out according to the show schedule.

Similar to Casa taking over Avalon Bar across the street late last year, there’s obviously this movement afoot to class up this corner of 19th St. in Costa Mesa in ways that entrepreneurs think we want to see. Of course only time will tell if they’re right. While Chon insists draft beers and everyday bar staples of the old place aren’t going anywhere, there will be a tasteful attempt by The Wayfarer to get you to stay way longer, which always bodes well for business.

“Nobody’s coming to eat dinner here. That’s not what we’re going for,” Chon says. “We’re going for ‘Hey let’s have a good time–but we can stay here.’ You don’t have to go to 10 different places. You can come here, listen to music, get a good drink, get some good food, and do it all at once.”

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The Wayfarer featured in Riviera Magazine

The Way, Way Back

William Lobdell | Photo: John Gilhooley | April 29, 2014

Jeff Chon’s taking the legacy of the Detroit Bar and giving music-lovers and foodies a new place to call home.


Jeff Chon plays all the right notes when he talks about launching his new Costa Mesa restaurant, The Wayfarer, in the building that most recently housed the iconic Detroit Bar, known for a decade as one of the best live music scenes south of Los Angeles.

“When I was in college, I remember coming to the Detroit Bar and loving every minute of it,” says the 30-year-old restaurateur, who also operates The Alley in Newport Beach and Tabu Shabu in Costa Mesa. “I suppose all great things must come to an end. But at the same time, that end may actually be an evolution into something different. The Wayfarer is not necessarily the end of an era, but rather the continuation of a legacy.”

Chon is paying homage to the old dive by using the Detroit Bar’s talent buyer to plan the nightly musical offerings, which will range from the best emerging O.C. bands to DJs and karaoke. And he’s christened the platform where bands will play The Detroit Stage.

But in other ways, patrons will be transported far from Detroit once The Wayfarer opens in July. Earlier this year, Chon—who got his first culinary job as a host at The Cheesecake Factory in Redondo Beach—began remodeling the space that he says will have an industrial and rustic vibe. The new kitchen will produce simple food with a twist, such as chorizo-kimchee fried rice with pickled vegetables.

As a restaurateur, Chon says his specialty is creating a guestcentric atmosphere that contributes as much to the establishment’s success as do the food, interior design and music. The Wayfarer’s tagline, A House of Social Provisions, is meant to convey an atmosphere that’s like home: comfortable with plenty of food, drinks, music, family and friends. “It’s a place that provides sustenance in all aspects… for one’s journey along life’s road,” Chon says. “I truly love being able to bring a bit of happiness through food and drink—even just for a brief moment—in a random someone’s day.”

Chon’s Hots 
Hanging with my girlfriend and French bulldog, great new food in O.C., the comeback of the one-piece bathing suit for women, libations with friends, trying to positively affect someone every day

Chon’s Nots 
Road rage, shoes with toes, dieting, the disappearance of manners and chivalry

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The Wayfarer is hiring!

The Wayfarer in Costa Mesa is now accepting applications for employment. You will be the first to apply for the opening team of this new bar/venue in the Westside! Set to open mid Summer 2014!

Accepting applications for:

Cocktail Servers
Security Staff
Line Cook/Prep/Chef

**Must have prior experience in high volume bar/restaurant**
**POS knowledge a must for bar/cocktail**

Send resumes to

Coming in July 2014 – The Wayfarer: A House of Social Provisions

Hey all!

Welcome to The Wayfarer: A House of Social Provisions in Westside Costa Mesa!  As many of you know, we have taken over the site of Detroit Bar, a legendary music venue with over a decade of history.  There is already very much speculation on what is to happen.  This is the official place to find out exactly what is and will happen to the space!

The Wayfarer will feature the “Detroit Stage” paying homage to the venue and continuing its legacy of live performance.  In addition to a full renovation of stage sound and lighting, the bar itself is also being completely renovated.  And last but not least, a small kitchen is being brought in to add small plate tavern fare to the table!

Keep checking in here for more updates.
Projected opening:  July 2014

The Wayfarer Team