What had originally been intended for parties, family reunions and corporate functions has been transformed into an open-air patio with eight glass garage-type doors at Alley 21 Neighborhood Gar and Grille in Hillsboro.
“We had the big Bicentennial Room that was just sitting there and doing nothing,” said Pam Bailey, one of the Alley 21 owners. “And my husband Tom came up with the idea of transforming it into something like a patio.”
The result is a concept fresh from the streets of Manhattan that has a unique small-town feel.
“I felt because we had been as successful as have been that we wanted to give something back to the community so that people could have the feeling of sitting outside, and just relax and have a good time,” Bailey said.
Faye Gann, another of the restaurant’s six owners, said she wanted an atmosphere like someone would find at a family reunion, where a family doesn’t have to worry about what to wear and can bring the kids along as well.
“This is something really different,” Gann said. “Of course, a business like ours has to turn a profit, but deep down, the decision to remodel came from our desire to say thank you to the community for supporting us all these years.”
She was quick to point out that Alley 21 is a full service bar and grille, so whatever is ordered inside can just as easily be enjoyed in the new patio surroundings.
Dina Gruber is Alley 21’s “mixologist,” tends bar in the new patio addition, and had high praise for the remodeling.
“It’s beautiful and has such a neat atmosphere,” she said. “And it makes it so much more than just another sports bar.”
With the Cincinnati Bengals kicking off their NFL season Sunday, Gruber said the drink of choice among football fans seems to be Bud Light.
“But we also have specialty drinks too,” she noted. “The Alley-Oop is a fan favorite around here, especially with the ladies, since it has a mellow, fruity taste.”
For the Bengals games, Gann said Alley 21 will have a special for Cincinnati football fans.
“We’ll be having 60-cent wings and $2 draft beer,” she said. “But only when the Bengals are playing.”
An unofficial contest of sorts is underway to give the new facility a name.
“We’ve had a lot of entries and suggestions, and we’ve narrowed it down to around eight names,” Gann said.
For Bailey, though, one suggestion seems to stand out from the others.
“I like ‘The Patio at Alley 21,” Bailey said. “I think that’s a good description of what we’ve tried to do here.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571