New "Runway Spirits" Bar Stealth-Opens at Hangar 1 in Alameda

Semi-secret new cocktail lounge lands at Alameda Naval Air Station.


Kristan Lawson

It's not often that a new bar opens in the Bay Area without anyone noticing. But a little over a week ago, without any fanfare whatsoever, Alameda's own Hangar 1 vodka brand began serving cocktails via its on-site bottle shop Runway Spirits, effectively transforming it from liquor store to cocktail lounge. 

So far, the only people to accidentally discover that Runway Spirits is now a bar have mainly been visitors taking Hangar 1's distillery tours or sampling straight vodka flights in its tasting room, which concludes with an opportunity to buy bottles at the company's in-house store (which is, technically, a separate business). So many attendees had been asking to sample the company's specialty vodkas in mixed drinks (rather than just straight) that Hangar 1 saw an opportunity to take its distillery experience to the next level.

But the secret is that this new bar actually serves all comers -- patrons are not required to visit the distillery or tasting room ahead of time. Anyone is free to show up, skip the formalities, and head straight for the bar.

What makes Runway Spirits unique -- aside from being housed inside a distillery on a former military base, obviously -- is that it is the only place is the world where you can get cocktails made from Hangar 1's hyper-limited-edition "Distiller's Exclusive" vodkas, which are not distributed to retailers and are only available on-site.

Hangar 1 briefly previewed its Pink Peppercorn Celery Gimlet (depicted here) last month at the EatDrinkSF food festival. This spicy, bittersweet drink featured the otherwise impossible-to-find Pink Peppercorn Distiller's Exclusive, lime juice, simple syrup, and celery bitters.

Although that drink is not on Runway Spirits' drink menu — in fact, at this early stage of the soft-launch they have no official online menu -- you can see what creative concoction in-house mixologist Eva Miekus, former bar manager of Forbidden Island, has dreamt up.

Runway Spirits does not have normal bar-style hours — it's only open when Hangar 1's tasting room is open: Thursday-Friday 3pm-7pm and Saturday-Sunday 12pm-7pm.

Runway Spirits is in Building 22 of the Alameda Naval Air Station, 2505 Monarch Street, Alameda, CA, 94501.

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