‘Alvarado on Main’ in Salinas celebrates first year, opens mezzanine lounge

SALINAS – Alvarado on Main, the first-floor dining and drinking establishment in the six-story Art Deco-designed bank-turned-apartment building at 301 Main Street in Oldtown Salinas, is celebrating its first anniversary with the opening of a new lounge on its mezzanine level.

“We felt the mezzanine area was underutilized when the ‘lounge’ setup was originally downstairs near the entrance of the restaurant,” said J.C. Hill, co-founder and head brewer, in an email. “It has such an awesome bird’s eye view of the action below and a unique lens on all the deco-style interior detail of the building.”

Alvarado on Main is the offshoot of Alvarado Street Brewery in Monterey and incorporates original design elements from nearly a century ago that sets an impressive tone to the popular spot with its original frieze-detailed soaring ceilings, wall treatments and reliefs, and grand chandeliers fashioned from lighting found in the original foyer.

Alvarado On Main raises the bar with a new, upper-level lounge overlooking the main dining room. (James Herrera/Monterey Herald)
Alvarado On Main raises the bar with a new, upper-level lounge overlooking the main dining room. (James Herrera/Monterey Herald)

The interior plays a big supporting role in the ambiance of Alvarado on Main and moving the lounge from the front of the restaurant to the mezzanine takes it to a new level.

“The vibe is really chill – very quiet and comfortable,” said Hill about the upstairs lounge. “We wanted to curate a more informal experience in the mezz space – one where guests can come up and leisurely control the flow of their food & beverage, so we felt a counter-service setup was appropriate and keeps the atmosphere relaxed.”

The opening of the mezzanine lounge allows for the addition of more tables – about thirty seats – in the bustling 140-seat main dining area which is on full display from the upper lounge space. The mezzanine lounge seats about 20, but there is sit, stand, and mingle room for up to 40 people comfortably, added Hill. The aim is to provide a space to enjoy with friends, a date, or a private event.

“We essentially moved that entire (lounge) area up to the mezzanine, and replaced the downstairs/entrance area with more tables,” said Hill. “We found that on busy days, we’d go on a wait pretty fast. This additional seating helps reduce wait times on busier days.”

The mezzanine lounge features six draught beers from Alvarado Street Brewery, as well as some of its more popular cocktails. A curated menu featuring oysters and small bites keeps it casual, but for private events the options are wide-ranging.

The new mezzanine lounge in Alvarado on Main in Salinas is now open every Thursday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to closing and reservations are not required.

In the year since it first opened, the restaurant-bar has been a hot spot for those looking to sample from its 48 tap-handle custom 8-inch cast iron draft system that serves as the centerpiece of its bar. A modern handcrafted beer selection works with the menu of dishes using local ingredients designed by Chef de Cuisine Jordan Roots that highlights the bounty of the Salinas Valley.

Alvarado Street Brewery was founded by father-son duo John and J.C. Hill in March of 2014 starting as a neighborhood brewery restaurant in Downtown Monterey and evolving into four locations dedicated to serving Monterey county’s locals and visitors.

Its production brewery & tasting room opened in the Spreckels Junction area of Salinas in 2016. In early 2018, it opened its research and development pilot brewery and bistro in Carmel, known as the “Stro.” In 2022, it opened Alvarado on Main in Oldtown Salinas.

Alvarado Street breweries collectively dabble in a little bit of everything, but are best known for brewing progressive, hop forward ales that span the range of hazy and West Coast-style IPAs, according to the company. It also favors some crisp, clean lagers too and heavily fruited sour ales. Its sister brand, Yeast of Eden, is known for mixed culture sour ales – often barrel-aged – employing native microflora and hyper local ingredients to create beers of complexity and nuance, evoking a sense of time and place.

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