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Alley 26

Posted by DID 14 Sep 2012 3 Comments

Walking into Chapel Hill institution Crooks Corner, bypassing the hostess to sit at their cool bar and order a mint julep is one of my favorite ways to spend a summer evening. Therefore I had high hopes when word got around that Shannon Healy, former manager at Crook’s Corner, was opening a bar in downtwon Durham.

Alley 26 quietly opened its doors last week. Located near Rue Cler on Chapel Hill St., Alley 26 is focusing on artisanal cocktails and housemade mixers. They also have wine, a few beers and meat/cheese plates. Their prices are on point with the other upscale crafted cocktails in town at Revolution and Whiskey.

I ordered the Rum Peach Smash which was 12 year rum, house-canned peaches and a basil leaf. It was excellent but at $11 I admit I was disappointed a bit when it barely filled half of the lowball glass in which it was served.  I also had a sip of the El Bul (pale ale, housemade ginger syrup, lime and candied ginger). It was light and refreshing. Another friend ordered a bourbon, ginger syrup and lime juice ($8).

I think mostly the newness is to blame, but Alley 26 doesn’t seem to have quite found its voice. The service was excellent and attentive, but the music was jarring and loud. It would shift from guantanamera (really) to show tunes. There isn’t anything on the walls and the furniture makes the space feel like a hotel lobby bar.

Alley 26 has blocked off the alley next door and will eventually have outdoor seating. They weren’t asking for memberships last night, but their site does make it look like one will eventually be required.

Alley 26
Tue – Sat:    4:00 pm    -    2:00 am
320 E. Chapel Hill St.


  • Jonn said:

    I looked inside one night and also felt that it looked surprisingly bland (a little like perma-confused ‘The Republic’ on main street), but the addition of that alley seating will definitely help create a more interesting vibe.

    I’m a little worried about the continued upscaling of Durham..but at least this place has some cheaper beers in addition to the cocktails.


  • Tooth said:

    Second sentence has a typo.


  • DGM said:

    Im hoping that Durham figures out we need some cool dives.


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