A visit to Capone's Speakeasy in Alameda is like traveling back in time to the Roaring Twenties. There's a vintage bar within a historic building with bank vaults from the 1920s and a wait staff dressed in flapper dresses, feather headbands and fedoras.
Patrick and I were invited to a hosted dinner to check out the menu and cocktails and we had a very nice time. General Manager Matt Lienhard, who previously worked at Eureka! in Berkeley, was kind enough to greet us and give me a quick tour of the place. The great handcrafted cocktails, mellow and casual vibe, and comforting food options left us quite happy.
Before I start reviewing the food, here are four things you should know about Capone's:
- The site that is home to Capone's Speakeasy is a locally historic structure that was built in 1888, expanded in 1920 and, until now, had been a bank. There are some really cool bank vaults in there!
- The menu is created by Chef King-Kostelac, a native of Kansas City who graduated from the California Culinary Academy. His professional experience includes stints at Town Hall Restaurant (San Francisco), California Cafe (Palo Alto), and Eureka Restaurant & Lounge (San Francisco).
- You can expect live entertainment in the form of a DJ or bands who specialize in swing, jazz and blues.
- There's a dress code three days of the week from Thursday to Saturday evenings beginning at 7pm.
The cocktails are priced around $12 to $13 each, so it's a bit on the pricey side. Is it worth it? It really depends on what you get, but I can say that there wasn't a cocktail that we didn't enjoy on our visit. It's not easy to find sophisticated drinks that are nicely crafted in this area of the East Bay and Capone's Speakeasy does a great job at it with attention to detail. We tried three different drinks, all of which I'd recommend:
- The Alcatraz: Dickel Whiskey #12, Combier, Fresh Lemon Juice, Ginger Beer
- Al Capone: Templeton Rye, Grand Marnier, Champagne, and Bitters
- Blood and Sand: Johnnie Walker Red, Sweet Vermouth, Luxardo Cherry Puree, and Fresh Orange Juice
Carciofi Alla Giudia ($11)
The Roman artichokes were simply prepared but fantastic. The hearts were delicious and tender to bite, nicely fried.
Sizzling Pork Belly & Seared Scallops ($20)
We really wanted to like this dish, but we thought the marinade on the pork belly was overpowering and the scallops were a bit fishy. The lettuce numbs the flavors down overall when eating it as a wrap, so we can't taste much of anything but vinegar, which I assume is a part of the marinade.
Capone’s Sliders & Chips ($16)
The sliders were fine, but not something we'd order again because they were a bit on the dry side and we weren't feeling the dollop of blue cheese. However, the potato chips were amazing, thick and crispy. Possibly the best potato chips we've ever had at a restaurant and even better when paired with our favorite item on the menu - the mac and cheese.
Mac and Cheese ($7)
The mac and cheese at Capone's is full of cheesy goodness and it's deliciously gooey, too. It's made with cavatappi pasta disguised as elbow macaroni at first glance, then dressed in American cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan bread crumbs. Midway through the dish, a great idea rushed into my head. We took some of the potato chips that came with the sliders and used it to scoop up the mac and cheese to combine two good things into one. My goodness, it was an amazing combo! The thickness of those chips held the cheesy pasta very well, sort of like a fancy version of nachos.
I had to stop myself from finishing the entire crumble myself because it was so good. This wonderfully fragrant and warm cinnamon-bourbon crumble is full of butter and sugar. It definitely satisfied my sweet tooth.
Capone's Speakeasy is a nice new addition to Alameda and I'm excited to see how they evolve. Our entire visit was complimentary, but we would return again during non-dress code hours (because a dress code isn't our style) to enjoy a few cocktails and to enjoy some mac and cheese and potato chips, which I hope they never take off their menu.
Thanks for dinner and cocktails, Capone's!
VISITING CAPONE'S SPEAKEASY
1400 Park Street, Alameda, CA
- Tuesday to Wednesday: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- Thursday: 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.
- Friday and Saturday: 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
- Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Street parking is free after 6:00 p.m. and there are several nearby lots.