Blending a casual menu of California freshness and New Orleans zing against a backdrop of live music, Blackbird Tavern is ready to bring a new concept to San Jose for what a local restaurant and tavern can be for the community.

As a San Jose native, owner Chris Esparza is already familiar with the sounds and tastes of the city, where he has been previously involved in several restaurants, including Naglee Park Garage. He also serves as a San Jose arts commissioner. With Blackbird Tavern, Esparza is excited to offer a new spot for San Jose, where he hopes to have a local gathering place for good food, music and a casual hangout.

Esparza describes the menu as being similar to that of neighborhood eateries or a typical bistro, but with influences of the fresh ingredients of California, French bistro classics and flavors from the American South.

“We really wanted to play with a wider net, with both a classic and new approach to dishes,” Esparza says of Blackbird’s menu, “while avoiding some that are just everywhere and you wouldn’t need to [visit us.]”

Clams with chorizo and wine sauce, curried short rib over house fries and smoked trout salad are just a small sample of the dishes Esparza is excited for. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on the weekend. Additionally, there will be outside patio seating along Paseo de San Antonio.

The bar at Blackbird will showcase California artisan spirits, such as products from Alameda’s St. George Spirits and Hangar 1. Beer available on tap will be a mix of Belgian and German brews and American craft selections. Blackbird will also have a wine tap system, featuring wines from local vineyards.

A special attraction at Blackbird Tavern will be live music featured on weekend nights. Esparza says he hopes to establish a spot where food, drink and music lovers can enjoy themselves late into the evening. Whether it be New Orleans jazz, alternative rock or mariachi, Esparza says guests can expect to have drink and food specials that are directly connected to the featured music that evening.

At the end of the day, Esparza hopes that Blackbird Tavern will be much more than a bar and restaurant. “We want to be the epicenter for the creative folks who want to see their downtown reach the urban potential that it could be … that is just as important to us as the music, food and drinks.”

Blackbird Tavern, 200 S. First St., San Jose. Opens June 28.