Guthrie’s Alley Cat bar in Bakersfield, CA doesn’t stand out and make itself known. That’s because it doesn’t have to.
The landmark drinking establishment was founded in 1940, originally as Oscar’s Alley Cat, and still pours drinks well into the evening, with no shortage of customers.
Located along Wall Street, which is actually an alley in downtown, Guthrie’s Alley Cat can’t be seen from any of the navigable roads in town. You have to know its there, otherwise, you may not ever find it. But if you happen to pass through its doors, be prepared for some of the friendliest drinking buddies you’ve never met.
John, the day time bartender, told us all about the history of the place.
“Originally, the Chinese built this town”, he said. “There were networks of tunnels everywhere, with rooms as large as this place. That’s where they hung out”. He pointed to some photographs on the wall. “That’s the original owners”, he said. “After a few years, they fought together on Guadalcanal”.
People walked into the bar, and immediately John waved his hand and called out their names. Everyone knows each other here.
“That’s Dave from the band Adema”, he said, pointing to a bearded bald headed guy. Sash knew of the band, and managed to get a photo of herself with him.
What you get at Guthrie’s Alley Cat is great service and great clientele to mingle with. There’s no food served there, but you can go next door, order up a pizza and salad, and take it into the bar.
“It’s the best place to get drunk”, one of the patrons explained to me. “Because they serve them so stiff!”
That large caricature drawing that looks like an Al Hirschfeld? Yeah, it’s actually an Al Hirschfeld. According to the bartender, there’s only six copies of that in existence. “People from all around come here just to photograph it!”
And according to them, Harley-Davidson comes to Wall Street each year and does photo shoots because of the old, rustic look of the alley. “There here every year”, John says. “Models, photographers… it’s gets crazy.”
Guthrie’s Alley Cat
1525 Wall St.
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Phone: (661) 324-6328