By James Taylor

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A new plan is being uncorked to open a wine bar in one of Sacramento’s most historic buildings.

The nearly century-old Senator Hotel was once an entertainment hot spot and now there’s hope it will enliven the downtown area once again.

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Many people passing by Sacramento’s historic Senator Hotel don’t give it a second thought.

“I just walk past it every day,” said Brian Malone, who works nearby.

“I know nothing about this building; I’ve walked by it probably a thousand times,” said Jamie Williams, who supports the wine bar.

Built in 1924, right across the street from the state capitol, the 10-story towers were once a key place for those with power and fame to mingle.

“It was a hub for people making connections and doing business over a drink or seeing a live show,” said historian William Burg.

Notable names like Buster Keaton and Martin Luther King Jr. once stayed here and musician Duke Ellington performed in the nightclub. It’s also where President Gerald Ford stayed the night before an assassination attempt.

But the rooms were converted to office space decades ago and the restaurant and club closed.

Now there’s a new effort to bring some of the spirited action back. An application has been filed to open a wine bar in the building with service under the arches and columns of the outdoor patio.

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The idea has an outpouring of support.

“I would go to this outdoor wine bar, I would totally go,” said Williams.

“I would defiantly go and take my friends and stuff,” said Malone.

The proposal, which still needs city approval. would be operated by the same person who owns the Whired wine bar across from Golden 1 Center.
Some say the new bar could become a renewed hotspot for lobbyists and lawmakers.

“Right across from the capitol seems a little business/pleasure, I think it sounds fun,” said Grace Theodore, who supports the idea.

“People who work in the state capitol want a place to meet [and] a wine bar seems like a natural place to do it”

And it’s a chance for customers to uncork a little history while they wine and dine.

“Old buildings have new purposes. All it takes is some creativity to say ‘hey this might be a good place for a new idea,'” said Burg.

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The proposal will not modify any of the building’s historic structural elements. The Sacramento city planning commission is scheduled to vote on the project this Thursday.