Survivor: One Santa Rosa area bartender’s fight to keep his saloon, and himself, alive

23 June 2020

Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat

John Timberlake is not married, at the moment, though he has been in the past – four times, to be precise. And he’s not ruling out future nuptials.

“I’m not a quitter,” said Timberlake, 59. “I’m a hopeless romantic.”

If there was any quit in him, Timberlake’s bar would’ve gone belly-up several times since he bought it in 2016. But after a tense two months during the COVID-19 pandemic, when its survival hung in the balance, the Final Edition Bar & Grill in Larkfield is out of critical condition and on its way to a full recovery.

One of the best-known bartenders in Sonoma County since the mid-1980s, Timberlake always wanted a saloon of his own. He fulfilled that ambition four years ago, when he and two partners bought the Final Edition, a beloved, blue-collar neighborhood bar just off Old Redwood Highway in Larkfield.

Timberlake knew it wouldn’t be easy. He’s worked in the county’s bars and restaurants since 1984. But he wasn’t prepared for the Old Testament-caliber tribulations awaiting him, including a heart attack, two wildfires, power outages and “the virus apocalypse.”

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