Allies at last, reinventing Rawbar

British Bulldog Brewery’s pub near ready; downtown sushi spot closes for renovations; bank foundation bankrolls Paradise recovery manager position

When I walked through the door at what’s soon to be the Allies Pub last week, I could hardly believe the transformation. What was once office space—next door to Bank of America, on the back side—is now a warm, vibrant, comfortable pub.

When I mentioned that to the owners—Steve and Alison Kay and their daughter and son-in-law, Emma and Justin Martin—they said they were aiming for a cross between a traditional English pub and Cheers. I looked down at my shirt and, yep! I was dressed appropriately for the occasion in my commemorative T-shirt from the venerable Boston bar of the classic sitcom.

But, back to Allies. Despite the huge amount of work it took to transform the space, it couldn’t be more perfect. The location is great, right around the corner from the City Plaza, and with a large shaded patio out front and ample parking. The kicker, it turned out, however, was the fact that the historic building actually has a cellar. That allows the Kay/Martin team to cellar-condition their beers the traditional British way. They even imported hand pulls from England to draw directly from the cellar.

The menu will be simple, they say, and focus on bangers and mash, as well as traditional pasties and pies. What is of particular interest to me is the large wine list to accompany the British Bulldog and Specialist (their American partner, ahem, ally) beers. They’ll have 18 wines on the menu, including some local ones (see “Wine, beer and Bible hobbies,” The Goods, June 13).

Steve Kay told me they’re expecting all their final inspections to happen this week, so look for news about the Allies opening very soon. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Renovation time Not far away, at the corner of Fourth and Broadway streets, Rawbar has closed its doors. But do not fear—it’s only for a couple of months while some of the major renovations on the building it inhabits are undertaken. It’s my understanding there’ll be an outdoor patio when they’re finished, plus the renderings for the façade look amazing. In the meantime, you can get your Rawbar fix this weekend (July 18 and 20) at special pop-up nights at Argus Bar + Patio.

Bankrolling A few weeks ago, I announced in this space that Bank of America had donated its long-empty building in Paradise, which survived the Camp Fire, to the town. Well, it’s not the only financial institution stepping up to help out in the recovery effort. Golden Valley Bank Community Foundation this week announced it will pay the salary for a disaster recovery manager for a year—with the understanding that the position would be retained for at least three years.

“In the aftermath of this disaster, it is clear that the Town of Paradise requires someone to oversee what will be a complex and lengthy recovery,” a press release from the town reads. It’s awesome to see the support that was so overwhelming in the immediate aftermath is still strong.