One hundred bottles of beer on the wall at Alley Katz

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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. 

  • Lindol French

    How am I just hearing about this now? I look forward to checking it out.

  • I’ve been to this place half a dozen times since opening. Their drink prices are very reasonable and they really do draw good crowds and have gotten progressively busier since their opening – generally I’ve gone on Thursday, Friday or Saturday’s between 930 and midnight. They’re pretty strict about everyone having their drinks finished by midnight, which is what I suppose they need to be in order for that probationary period to see it’s end… but it still is unfortunate that a new businesses’ profitability and popularity is being stunted due to what seems to be a pointlessly lengthy and invasive restriction.

    The biggest fault with this place is the bathrooms. One woman’s restroom and one co-ed restroom, each single use. A times the line can be especially bad.

  • Denise Coleman

    Although a huge selection in bottled beer is nice,what I want to know is what they have on tap.
    That’s what brings in the true beer geek like me.

    • I agree. are they using taplister?

  • I am still surprised at this place’s success in so little time. I went there on Friday (again) and it was full. The place is comfortable and I look forward to trying all the beers. On tap they have about 15 types. The bathrooms are a problem and it won’t be long before someone complains of the smell in the parking lot.

  • The space has a lot of potential to be a nice neighborhood hang out – wish they would play up their food and restaruarant in addiion to the beer. Midtown has a lot of bars – too many some could argue. Also remember this location is immediately adjacent to peoples homes so its not a great spot for a more hyper nightspot. A nice mellow lounge with good food is just right.

    • Patrick J.

      It’s immediately adjacent to commercial office space.

  • Perseus

    sounds cool, looking forward to checking it out, though maybe not on one of their busiest nights.

    and yup, looks like they’re on TapLister

  • Mary Franklin

    This place is EXACTLY what midtown needed. Wood and stone, not trendy and flourescent. Single women in their 40s can come here and relax without pretense or a cover charge – and it’s just in time for Spring!

    I’d been watching the progress on this building for a while and thought it might be some kind of catering business. Then, when I met Geronimo and the staff, I thought I’d do an article about it because of their vision and future plans for this business.

    They (Geronimo and two friends) took an abandoned building and renovated it into this fantastic, rustic space with exposed roof and beam style…ginormous front doors…and beautiful booths. I am sure the “neighboring neighborhood” is very pleased to have that abandoned site turned into a place that is consciously moving forward with a plan to include the community.

    When I spoke to Geronimo, he was adamant about his desire for the surrounding community to see Alley Katz for its great beer and food, but also recognize it as a place where people can come and bring their family to watch sports, shoot pool, or have a family event, like a reunion.

    They plan on expanding to the outside area and he mentioned that eventually, he wants to offer music so that people can come there to relax and unwind with dinner and dancing.

    I immediately felt at home and just loved this place. I opened that huge wood door and angels sang. They have a Chinese beer I hadn’t seen anywhere since I moved from Marin county, years ago, and he had Shock Top on draft.

    I’m going back and bringing my mug from home.

    What a great place. What great people.

  • David Watts Barton

    Finally went last night, pretty cool, especially when they turned off the florescent lights in back. But what is a $40 beer ($2-40)?

    • Brandon Darnell

      A pint and a half of a type of Duvel.