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Inside Capone's, an Already Notorious '20s Throwback

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[Photos: Patricia Chang]

One of the largest restaurant projects to come to the East Bay in ages (7,000 square feet!), Capone's Speakeasy had its opening somewhat overshadowed by the arrest of owner Mark Strachan, who got overly intoxicated at Capone's opening party and ended up biting a cop. But while Strachan deals with his legal woes, Capone's is very much open for business in downtown Alameda, serving up a '20s gin-joint vibe and a menu of more modern California cuisine and cocktails. Waitstaff attired in flapper dresses and fedoras add to the throwback appeal.

The menu comes from chef Damien King-Kostelac (Town Hall, California Cafe), with an emphasis on comfort-food fare like brisket sliders with housemade potato chips, pork belly and seared scallop lettuce cups, and a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato bisque. Cocktails include the Al Capone (Templeton Rye, Grand Marnier, Champagne, bitters) and the Bonnie and Clyde (St. George Botanivore Gin, beer, passionfruit puree). Here's the food menu and the cocktail menu.

The enormous building, built in 1888 and expanded in 1920, was a Wells Fargo bank before being transformed into Capone's, sizable enough for both an 85-seat dining room and a dance floor. One of the former vaults is now a private dining room, and the enormous mahogany-topped bar is 72 feet long and seats a whopping 50 people. In terms of entertainment, expect DJs on Thursdays and Fridays and a live band playing jazz and light rock every Saturday. As a bonus, one of the restaurant's investors has a friend who owns Capone's 1930s-era, custom built yacht, and will occasionally hold special events for the restaurant on board. Hours are Tuesday-Wednesday, 4-11 pm; Thursday, 4 pm-12 am; Friday-Saturday, 4 pm-1:30 am; and Sunday, 9 am-9 pm.