Best Neighborhood Bar/North OC Orange County 2009 - Front Street at the Back Alley and the Back Alley
Set smack-dab in the middle of Fullerton's small but bustling downtown is a long, rectangular space of suds and boozin' wonderfulness. The front half, facing East Wilshire Avenue, is the Front Street at the Back Alley bar and grill. Large windows draw in enough light to keep it a bright, cheery and respectable neighborhood lounge with a long bar tucked in one corner, a pool table in another and enough floor space to hold a recreational softball D league. Barbecue, cocktails and seven brew taps await customers. A corridor leads to loos before opening up to a second bar, the Back Alley, which probably did face an alley in the olden days but now fronts a wide sidewalk and parking lot behind the south side of Wilshire. By contrast, the Back Alley is darker, louder and stickier, with a bar-billiards-floor layout representing the Bizarro World version of Front Street. Seven more taps stand at the ready, and a small stage in one corner allows for live entertainment when the juke-computer-thingy is not blasting out eardrums. That aforementioned corridor allows for mixing of the two bars' clientele, although that may not always be a good idea. Let's put it this way: Front Street is where you take your girlfriend. Back Alley is where you take her girlfriend.