When Oak and Alley Public House opened up in my hometown of Warsaw, Indiana, I couldn’t have been giddier. I had long fancied that our small but growing Midwest community needed a place that you could go to immerse yourself not only in the enjoyment of drinking as a social activity but to witness the art of making cocktails. As with many of my other “pie in the sky” ideas, this one was snatched up by someone headier and smarter than yours truly (that’s not saying much) and it has become the latest hot spot in an area quickly filling with them.
So why would a travel blog that focuses on beach bars write an article on a local cocktail bar? Good question. Apparently, there are many people out there who assume that someone who writes about beach bars enjoys drinking and has frequented many establishments that serve alcohol. This assumption would be correct. I do know bars and I know them well. I know what a drink should taste like, I know how it should be presented and I know the setting it should be served in. I get asked all the time what I think about certain bars and I’ve been asked a lot lately about Oak and Alley. In an effort to consolidate my responses (and unashamedly help drive traffic to the site) and avoid yelling at them as I try to rise above the typical background din at a bar, I decided to put my responses in writing. The next time someone asks me about Oak and Alley, I can respond with “Well, you know, I own this blog that writes a lot about bars and you can check out what I think about Oak and Alley by going to beachbarbums.com. Feel free to browse my other articles while you’re there!” Sheer brilliance.
After all that, what do I tell people about Oak and Alley when they ask? If you enjoy “tasting” and “experiencing” cocktails, craft beer and wine, you’ll have a fun evening at Oak and Alley. If you aren’t afraid of trying new drinks and leaving your taste buds in the able hands of mixologists who know what they’re doing, you’ll enjoy yourself. If you think a drink should taste as good as it looks, you’ve found your home away from home. It’s a fine place to enjoy conversation over drinks with friends and as long as paying a slightly more premium price doesn’t offend your fiscal mindedness, Oak and Alley might just become your new best friend.
One word of advice – get there early. The place fills up fast on the weekends and you’ll be left high and dry if you decide to show up fashionably late. And sit at the bar. In gentleman’s clubs, the front row is referred to as “pervert row” (not that I would know), the seating area where dollar bills disappear as quickly as morals and wedding rings. At Oak and Alley, it’s where you can watch as Jason Bodley and the rest of his able bodied crew create their colorful cocktails and it’s worth the price of admittance on its own. Just don’t expect to see any boobies … although they’ll probably let you tuck a buck or two when it comes time to pay your bill.
When you go, try the Hibiscus and Mate Collins (vodka based) or the Blackberry Basil Fizz (gin based). They’re delicious and I’m hopelessly addicted. They have a food menu (prepared by head chef Nathan Freiburger) consisting mostly of small plates which we’ll be sampling this weekend and I’ll cover those in a future article.
Links to people who know more than I do and write better
Indianapolis Monthly, which describes it as “a hipster colony in the City of Lakes.”
Bird + Cleaver, which has this to say: “Not a t.v in sight; just good music, plenty of seats, and big ol’ bar, to belly right up to.”