The partners have heeded the advice of a legendary Petaluma saloon owner who told them that their best chance at success is to “listen” to Petaluma. They are constantly tweaking their layout as well as their menu items at the request of their newfound and growing group of regular patrons. They also reciprocate good will at every turn. When another downtown business’s fridge broke the Roaring Donkey offered up some of its cooler space. Along those same lines, Brian gave deference to the pub across the street and stayed away from the standard Irish pub look, even though he is quite fond of the community character of pubs common to Ireland. He also checked with Ray’s Deli and Tavern when planning the Roaring Donkey’s “Open Mic” night so as not to conflict. Perfectly fitting in, Roaring Donkey scheduled their open mic session after Ray’s closes at 9pm and has quickly turned into the go-to after-Ray’s open mic spot. Additionally, like a growing number of downtown restaurants, bars, and shops, Roaring Donkey has an “industry night” each week (Sunday) where local business owners and employees can enjoy drink specials as a kind of “thank you” for making Petaluma such a great environment to shop and work.
These are all things that locals appreciate and have quickly earned Roaring Donkey a loyal following. Also popular are the much-loved “Leave a Drink” board and the Legion of Mad Fellows, which is a beer club of sorts. “We wanted patrons to try all our beers…plus everyone likes being part of a club, right?” says Brian. The first fifty Mad Fellows that finish all 25 beers on tap will receive their very own personalized mug and a discount on future pints. Adding legitimacy to the beer club is the fact that JJ Jay, founder of, and head brewer at Petaluma Hills Brewery, holds the official title of God Father of the Legion of Mad Fellows.