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Alley Katz, a Midtown bar that opened a month ago, currently has 100 beers, but owner Geronimo Avelar said by Beer Week (Feb. 26. - March 5), it will carry 200.
Avelar, a former bartender himself, said the neighborhood surrounding 20th and O streets needed a bar that specializes in craft beers.
Avelar said he believes microbrews are catching up with wine when it comes to popularity and the complexities involved in their production.
“Many of these beers are very complex,” he said. “They’re aged in wine barrels, and they get better over time – and they’re beers.”
The bar also carries a selection of about 15 wines, which he said he will be expanding.
But Alley Katz isn’t meant to be a snooty, top-dollar joint.
“We have something for everyone,” Avelar said. “During happy hour, we have beers from $2 to $40.”
A self-proclaimed beer geek, Avelar said he enjoys researching and reading up on various beers. He said he wants to have a selection that isn’t centered on any one geographic region or type of brew.
While bartending at the now-closed Hashi, once located at 2110 L St., Avelar said he was able to attend numerous events and try different beers, which helped him develop his palate beyond what he had previously been exposed to.
In addition to microbrews, Alley Katz carries the familiar beers as well, including Budweiser, Shock Top and, at the request of customers, Miller High Life.
“It’s not all stuff I like, but everyone has different tastes,” he said. “I like to help people find other beers that I think they will like. They can come in and ask for a Budweiser, and I can give it to them and recommend they try a (Kronenbourg) 1664, which is a really great beer from France.”
The bar holds 150 patrons in about 2,000 square feet, with a mix of barstools and booths, and a couple of pool tables in the rear.
The unassuming exterior is set back from O Street behind a pair of palm trees, the new burgundy color letting locals know that what had most recently been a disused storage building is back in business.
“Some people told me they think of this like kind of a speakeasy,” Avelar said. “You don’t expect it to be like this when you look at it from the outside.”
The worst time to open a bar is in January and February, Avelar said, because people typically don’t go out as much, but he said he has been busy since opening Jan. 1.
For now, the alcohol license only allows the bar to stay open until midnight, but Avelar said he hopes to stay open later when the probationary period is up in seven months to a year.
In addition to beer and wine, Alley Katz serves sandwiches and salads, and Avelar said he is happy to recommend beers that go with certain sandwiches in the same way wineries pair their goods with food.
Roseville resident Paul Valdez stopped by for a sandwich recently.
“Based on the menu, I didn’t expect this,” he said. “The sandwich was great. I want to expose people, my friends, to (the bar). It’s ideal for something like a birthday party.”
He said his first impression on the bar was positive.
“It’s cool,” he said. “The whole interior feel is nice. It’s disguised from the outside. It seems like it will be a success.”
The bar is open from 11 a.m. - midnight every day, and happy hour is from 3 - 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 4 - 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sundays. On Thursdays, happy hour is all day for women.
The bar is located at 2019 O St. Click here to see the Facebook page.
Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.