SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KTVU) - Sometimes, a return to normalcy can be found only in a bar or pub. Three brewpubs surround Santa Rosa's Coffey Park. All are very close to where the Tubbs Fire incinerated 1,300 homes, many of which have risen or are arising from their ashes.
People tend to be very loyal to their favorite pub, which is why KTVU's Tom Vacar went on a pub crawl to check on the area's progress.
The three pubs, almost consumed by the fire, are the Moonlight, Plow and Cooperage Brewing companies. While the pubs survived, many of their regular customers lost their homes and had to find housing elsewhere.
"It was definitely a hit, you know, something we were not prepared for, especially as people who work kind of pay check to pay check," said Charlie Dischler of the Cooperage Brewing Company.
But, almost two years into reconstruction, the customers are returning to places where everyone knows their names.
"It's true. You know, I know almost know everybody's name in here when they come in the door. It's really kind of fun. It's exciting for everyone else," said Lauren Walker, bartender at the Plow Brewing Company.
Now, things are changing.
"Probably the best aspect that we've seen is having people that were regulars of ours, who maybe came in once or twice a week that we didn't see for maybe almost a year, show back up and say, 'Oh, we moved back into our house last night," said Dischler.
It's been a slow return but, a return nonetheless.
"I don't notice any new faces, but I see a lot of old friends. People had to go away for a while, while their houses were being built," said pub customer David Lewis.
"When they're rebuilding, they actually come here and the meet with their contractors. They're able to build more of a relationship with their contractors over a pint of beer," said bartender Lauren Walker.
To Santa Rosans, these pubs are very special. "It was a great gathering place after the fire. Everybody came here to regroup, get information, find out how other people were doing, how can we help out," said Bruce Howard Willis.
"Everybody was affected, you know, on one day. And I think that really did bring people together," said Bob Iantosca.
"I love Cooperage; great people, great music, bring your animals, just a great vibe," said Willis.
"A pub is literally a public place to gather and to converse and try to let go and try to let the outside world melt away. Also, supporting local businesses is very important," said customer James Swinger.
There are still many empty lots here needing rebuilding and the promise of a lot more pub hellos to follow.