Stan Yee Establishes a New Park Street Hang Out

Town Tavern occupies a prime corner and space to create a community bar with drinks and bar food for his friends and neighbors.


Stan Yee opened Town Tavern in December.

Photo by Paul Haggard

Stan Yee didn’t have to spend a lot of time wondering where to open his new bar.

Launched in December, Town Tavern occupies the same Park Street address long occupied by the Silver Tree, a gift shop directly downstairs from his family’s restaurant.

“I spent a lot of time in the store as a child,” Yee remembered now. “It was like my little toy store, and reminded me of the trinket stores in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

“I spent a lot of time hanging out there, doing my homework, or just goofing around the area. I have always loved the corner location.”

About 10 years ago, Yee “had a vision” of installing in that space “a local community bar with great drinks and awesome bar food where my friends and neighbors could come and hang out and have a great time — a modern Cheers-type bar with all my regulars.”

When the space opened up, his dream started morphing into reality. But of course he’d need help.

Years before, he’d met renowned celebrity mixologist Russell Davis, whom many credit with introducing Austin, Texas, to craft cocktails and who starred multiple times on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue and whose résumé includes San Francisco hotspot Bourbon & Branch — and who introduced Yee to long-aged Venezuelan Diplomático rum.

“I instantly fell in love with it. That day, I knew I wanted Russell to be a part of my future dream bar.”

Davis and his team created a locally inspired selection of classics-with-a-twist — some of which employ East Bay brews such as those from Oakland Spirits Co. — and one of which, dubbed Stan’s Favorite Daiquiri in the World, contains Diplomático.

Helming the kitchen is executive chef (and former O.Co Coliseum chef) Justin Rucobo, with whom Davis worked in Austin and with whom Yee began sharing his tavern-vision almost from the start.

Under a soaring black ceiling whose pendant lights make a wooden floor gleam, at sleek wooden tables and a long blond bar lined with chic black barstools, behind soaring streetside windows, Ruboco artfully plates meaty artistry such as karaage-fried jerk-seasoned chicken bites, pork-belly sliders with pickled jalapeños and avocado crema, and poutine, which was the first item Yee asked Rucobo to create.

“Crispy fries, topped with our house-braised bison short ribs and cheese curds and smothered in a savory gravy. That is comfort food,” Yee avowed. “It’s my go-to.”

Town Tavern, 1437 Park St., Alameda, 510-523-1041,