After a couple of years peering into the windows of a business that some thought might never open, The Alley Cat in Allentown has turned on its lights and is ready for patrons.
Owner David Forness has retrofitted an old clothing store (Gelsey Fashions) and created a pub-like atmosphere that looks great from the outside and is just as welcoming on the inside. Forness has been in the bar and restaurant industry for many years (formerly Gabriel’s Gate, Hemmingways, etc.), which is why The Alley Cat looks like it’s already a fixture on Allen Street. The establishment boasts tin ceilings, brick walls, wood floors and plenty of old world, pub-looking ornamentation to ogle – a far cry from the former look of the place. Forness has managed to cobble an assortment of looks from his other establishments and side projects, including the bar rail molding and some impressive antique light fixtures. Other than a stark white wall towards the back that could use a splash of color (deep red preferably), the ambiance of The Alley Cat is wonderful, right down to the custom made foot rails at the bar.
The pub brings more character to the street, even in the form of its customers who appear to be a bit older than the typical Allentown partiers – I believe that Forness not only has a packaged style that he brings to the table, he also knows how to attract a certain “been there done that” clientele.
The Alley Cat does have some food offerings that range from wings to soups to paninis. Forness has also worked out a symbiotic arrangement with Allentown Pizza located next-door. He cut a hole in the wall and made it a pass-through, so that late night customers can order pizza, subs, etc, and eat the food (from the neighboring business) right inside the pub. Considering that the atmosphere inside the pub is identical to what Allentown Pizza originally purported their atmosphere would ultimately resemble –
“It’s going to be warm and it’s going to have character. We want people to come in and sit down. It’s going have the same sort of appeal that you would have seen from a restaurant in the 30s and 40s…” – Allentown Pizza on BRO
– it looks as if The Alley Cat is fulfilling that vision.
The Alley Cat | 197 Allen Street | Buffalo NY