Alibi Ale Works to open public house at site of Hacienda De La Sierra in Incline Village
September 26, 2018
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — When the guys at Alibi Ale Works were considering opening a new location they originally looked to South Lake Tahoe and Reno — larger markets to break into. However, real estate was nearly impossible to come by.
That's when Scott Comstock, owner of Hacienda De La Sierra restaurant for over 30 years, reached out to Alibi co-owner Rich Romo. Comstock said he was quietly planning to retire and, having heard about the limitations at Alibi's Incline Village location, asked if Romo would be interested in taking over his space in the building.
The opening posed a unique opportunity, added Kevin Drake, Alibi co-owner.
"It wasn't something we were like gunning for and then it popped up and we were like 'well this is about as good an opportunity as we're going to get in Incline to do this.'"
Typically successful businesses look to a new market to enter, such as Alibi's decision to open a public house in Truckee, which has proven to be wildly popular.
However, the aforementioned limitations at the Incline location, which includes the brewery operations and a taproom, are numerous.
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There are only a handful of parking spaces, as well as one bathroom. There is no room to add a kitchen, and without food the space is off limits to children. Another constraint arose in late August when the Washoe County Health District informed Alibi that they could not allow dogs inside the taproom — the county does allow exemptions for outside patios, which the current location does not have.
The Hacienda, which will close after Sunday following 32 years in business, addresses every one of those problems.
Originally those involved hoped to keep the plan a secret. However, word traveled quickly this past weekend after the staff at Hacienda were informed of the eventual change.
Romo decided to post a message in a local Facebook group explaining the plans.
Reactions, overwhelmingly positive, flooded in almost immediately.
"I had to turn my notifications off on my phone last night," Romo said the day after posting the announcement.
Plans for the new location resemble the Truckee location, which opened a little more than one year ago. It is a true public house — no TVs, lot of shared seating options and live entertainment.
"That's kind of the point of a public house … engage people, engage in conversation," Romo said. "I hear that all the time 'oh I just sat next to this guy and we just started talking and now we go golfing three days a week.'"
The new location also will resemble the Truckee location in appearance: Romo plans to employ the same look and concepts in the interior design.
The space will require substantial renovations, somewhere on the order of approximately $650,000 according to Romo. The current configuration is incredibly unfriendly with regards to the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are multiple levels inside the restaurant, with the bar higher than the dining floor, and another dining floor a step or two lower than the other level.
The tentative goal is to have a soft opening on April 1, although Romo cautions that could change
"You just never know with planning and construction."
The new location will address many of the shortcomings of the current location.
The size of the kitchen will allow for a more expanded menu than the Truckee location, which currently serves up items such as "pub pie with porter-braised short ribs" and "Mexican street corn nachos."
"It will be more extensive," Drake explained while describing the style of cuisine as "upscale pub food."
The Hacienda also boasts a large deck and outdoor patio, which provides the opportunity to allow dog owners to bring the four-legged friends. Romo said they intend to apply for an exemption through the county to allow dogs in the outside area.
They also plan on adding top-shelf liquor to the offerings in order appeal to non-beer drinkers.
As for the old location, Alibi will continue to brew the beer at that site. The taproom will open for special events and be available to rent for private gatherings and parties.
They also plan on establishing brewery tours, something people have asked for but has never been formally offered.
"We've just run our course here in this taproom," Drake said. "Kind of done everything we can do here."