Bar Shiru is a hi-fi vinyl listening music bar in Oakland, and the first of its kind in the Bay Area. It was founded by business partners Shirin Raza and Daniel Gahr, who also happen to be wife and husband. Shirin and Dan met in 2008 while working at Current TV. Both of them were fortunate to have media careers where they could take creative risks, and they reached a point where they were ready to take a leap of faith creatively and pursue their dreams together.
“We stumbled upon inspiration for Bar Shiru while on vacation in Japan where we discovered the hi-fi music bar scene,” remembered Shrin. Hi-fi music bars are dedicated to listening to music. They typically have an array of vinyl covering the walls, and generally offer a more contemplative vibe than a regular bar. “When we returned to the Bay Area we were shocked and delighted that few others had tried to launch a local music bar,” Dan said. Thus the idea for their business and passion project was born.
They decided upon the idea for Bar Shiru in 2015, and have been working towards launching it ever since. Rather than borrowing too explicitly from Japanese music bars, they seek to take the general concept and make it their own by adapting it to the local music culture and community.
Bar Shiru is loosely oriented towards jazz, focusing on the 1940s to the 1960s. “We’re drawn to jazz because of its spirit of innovation and improvisation. Jazz ties into many contemporary music genres and is a living breathing thing. We think jazz reflects our belief in the connective power of music,” they said.
When asked about in what ways Main Street Launch has helped their business, they said that they feel privileged and lucky. “This project wouldn’t be completed without it,” said Dan. “Life is hard as a small business, so we are thrilled to be working with a financial institution that cares about our business.”
Shirin and Dan have a lot of advice for entrepreneurs who are just getting started. They emphasized the power of constructive collaboration, how it is important to have partners with complementary skills sets to balance each other out, such as business skills and creative skills. “When you’re feeling insecure take a moment to revive your confidence,” said Shirin. They also suggest reminding yourself why you started in the first place. “We are building this for Oakland. Remembering that is motivating and connects the bar to a larger community,” said Dan.
Bar Shiru features some of Shirin and Dan’s favorite jazz music. Dan recommends Hank Mobley, the sax player. Shirin recommends “Lights out” by Jackie McLean, and the Breakfast at Tiffany’s soundtrack.
Check out Bar Shiru’s website by clicking here, and stay tuned for their upcoming launch!