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The dance floor gets hopping at Petar's in Lafayette on December 7. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Staff)
A letter to "Diamond Dave" Hosley, an entertainer and main attraction at Petar's in Lafayette.

Dear Diamond Dave,

You can't count on much in the way of East Bay nightlife, eh? Scenes come and go. Bars close and copycats open in their place, pushing pretty martinis. Good thing you, my friend, are forever.

Weekends at Petar's in Lafayette are an institution, and it's largely due to you, Dave Hosley, and your mastery of Fergie and Frank Sinatra tunes. Yes, in that order.

Consider this a long overdue "Thank you." I know, I've avoided writing about you and your hip-hopping, Rat Pack hat-spinning, Michael Jackson glove-wearing piano man. But, as you know, I'm biased.

Not only have I frequented the lounge at Petar's steadily for years, but you are a buddy of my roommate. You played at my dear friend's wedding. And she wrote about you so thoroughly and beautifully three years ago in these very pages that I didn't dare mess with perfection.

But it's time to say "Thank you," and for readers of Night Writer to understand your brilliance. After all, there are nonbelievers in our midst and others who could use a Petar's primer and an introduction to you, the man who does everything from rap and swing to pop and reggae.

Also, the pub, with its family crests, leather booths and hunting portraits, fosters what might be the most interesting vibe in all of the East Bay, and those who haven't set foot in the lounge during your two decades of service can hardly appreciate its kitsch.

I try to explain it like this: I imagine my parents going out on a date. Dinner at Chow, then dancing, right? Then I imagine their parents going, too. Cheap steaks, slower dancing. Now I figure that my friends and I hit a birthday dinner at Postino followed by stiff drinks and ... dancing.

On any given night, as you know, all three couples mingle at Petar's.

Three years ago, it didn't feel as harmonious, remember? At the super-packed bar, St. Mary's kiddies elbowed their way in front of your older regulars. On the dance floor, they bumped and grinded and got wasted, their paper-napkin requests for OutKast's "Hey Ya!" outnumbering those for Sinatra's "My Way."

Now, you play "Sweet Caroline" and "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" and everyone's happy. I like how you know what songs will elicit the most grinding from people of all ages. Thanks to you, diplomatic Dave, everyone grinds.

Last Friday, for instance, did you see that sorority girl of 22 doing a chin and foot tap while a fiftysomething in tight jeans lassoed his hips toward an attractive short-haired woman who was sharing the dance floor with none other than a waltzing couple in their 70s? I'm not making this up, Dave.

You were busy working the keyboards and smiling at the ladies, singing in that near-soprano that has become your signature.

I've also been there on nights when a particular crowd really dominates. This weekend, when we hit Petar's for Gavin's birthday, you'll see that our group of twentysomethings will quickly take over the small dance floor, especially with house Champagne at $8 a split. Still, whenever I've been there on the earlier side, the older crowd rocks the house for you.

So it's safe to say some of my happiest moments have unfurled at Petar's, when I'm dancing with friends and laughing so hard we have to hold on to each other, not to keep from falling, but to freeze the feeling. Thanks so much, Dave.

XOXO,

-- Jessica Yadegaran

Contact Jessica Yadegaran at 925-943-8155 or jyadegaran@bayareanewsgroup.com.

PETAR'S RESTAURANT & PUB

  • WHERE: 32 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette.

  • HOURS: Diamond Dave brings it at 9 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays.

  • CONTACT: 925-284-7117; http://www.petars.com; http://www.davehosley.com.

  • PARKING: La Fiesta Square has plenty of free parking.

  • ATMOSPHERE: Supper club meets hip-hopping piano bar.

  • CROWD: Coeds to seniors, and everything in between.

  • BARBIES: Not really.

  • NASTOIDS: Between my father and my grandfather's ages.

  • TIP: Make dinner reservations so you have one of the coveted tables.