Mouthful

Durham’s Alley Twenty Six cocktail bar to expand next door, adding full kitchen

Durham cocktail bar Alley Twenty Six has ambitious plans to nearly double in size, adding a full-size kitchen, according to owner Shannon Healy.

Healy has leased the space next door (formerly Area Modern Furniture) and intends to break ground soon an expansion that will also include a full kitchen.

But fans of Alley Twenty Six’s craft cocktails needn’t fear that Healy is taking the bar in a new direction.

“There is no new concept,” Healy said in an interview. “It’s Alley Twenty Six with more of what people want us to give them.”

One thing that Healy has noted his customers want is a dedicated event space. Once the expansion is complete customers will be able to host private functions at Alley Twenty Six without having to rent out and close down the entire bar.

The kitchen will also present new opportunities for Alley Twenty Six’s customers. Healy will continue his collaboration with chef Carrie Schleiffer by expanding Alley Twenty Six’s menu to include more small plates and pairings. While noting that Durham lacks a place that pairs cocktails with food, Healy says that the small plate concept is “the way people want to eat now.”

“I’ve done a lot of beer and wine pairing with food in my time,” said Schleiffer, “but not really with cocktails. I’m excited to see what we come up with together.”

Guests can expect to see an expansion of the current “Food Lab” menu that Schleiffer premiered at Alley Twenty Six recently, and the addition of the kitchen will allow for both hot and cold items.

Schleiffer explained that the food is intended to augment the cocktails, not outshine. “Shannon and everyone at Alley work so hard to bring good cocktails and service to Durham. The goal here is to now provide a good food experience to complement” the drinks, Schleiffer explained.

Healy expects construction to begin shortly and hopes the transformation of the new space will be completed sometime this fall.

Alley Twenty Six is located at 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Durham. They are open nightly from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Info: alleytwentysix.com

Note: Area Modern Furniture moved to 101 W. Chapel Hill St., Durham.

Matt Lardie is a Durham-based food and travel writer. He writes the Eat Write Go blog: eatwritego.com. Reach him at matt@eatwritego.com

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