BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Happy birthday to a Bakersfield institution. Guthrie’s Alley Cat is 80 years old. Founded in 1940 in the Wall Street alley downtown, the Alley Cat has served up libations to four generations of locals.
There’s not a fern in sight, nor a cocktail waitress either for that matter, but, if Bakersfield has anything remotely like Cheers, the bar of television fame, it is Guthrie’s Alley Cat, where for many, over the years, everybody knows your name.
The Alley Cat has that iconic neon sign out in front, that iconic Karl Lagerfeld mural — and of course the iconic owner. — Kenny Reed.
Reed has been running the Alley Cat for 45 years.
And he’s not letting a little Covid crisis stop him. Not after all he’s been through.
“I would’ve left long ago if it hadn’t have been for the fact that the Alley Cat is what it is,” Reed says. “I had already intended to own this place three or four years.”
To say business is slow now is an understatement. But you can get an Alabama Slammer to go, and in the coming days Reed hopes to set up tables out in the alley, joining neighboring restaurants.
In its heyday the Alley Cat was the official watering hole of politicians, cops, journalists — you know who you are. Today — like so many others — it’s just trying to get by.
In a world reeling from one crisis after another, though, it’s nice to know some things haven’t changed — much.