Albany Taproom and Grazzy Burgers are set to open Friday in adjoining storefronts that have been vacant for several years. Photo: Albany Taproom
Albany Taproom and Grazzy Burgers are set to open Friday in adjoining San Pablo Avenue storefronts that have been vacant for about six years. Photo: Albany Taproom

This Friday evening, Albany will welcome two new businesses to town on a strip of San Pablo Avenue that has a reputation for its lively, historic nightspots.

Albany Taproom and Grazzy Burgers, adjoining storefronts at 745 and 747 San Pablo, will hold grand opening celebrations on March 8 from 5-11 p.m. (Nearby drinking establishments include the Hotsy Totsy Club, the newly renovated Ivy RoomClub Mallard and Tierney’s Sports Bar at the Albany Bowl.)

The Taproom has been described by owners as “a group of discerning beer drinkers who are obsessed with the craft and art of the brew. We came together to create a space that combines the comfort of a classic beer house, the expertise of micro-brewers, and the enthusiasm of the collector in the City of Albany and the greater Bay Area.”

The self-described “first specialty beer bar” in Albany promises 32 draft beers and ciders, and more than 100 bottles of craft brews, ciders and several wines. The focus will be on small, local breweries and unique beers from around the world.

It’s not just about the beef. Items like this beet salad are also on the menu at Grazzy Burgers. Photo: Grazzy Burgers

Middle Eastern-inspired small plates will be available for sale at the Taproom, and those with larger appetites can step through an internal adjoining door to Grazzy Burgers, which will specialize in grass-fed beef and larger plates. Grazzy’s menu includes organic vegetables, hand-cut French fries and “delicious shakes,” all made daily from scratch.

Plans for both businesses have been in the works for several years. Albany officials approved the application for Grazzy Burgers in 2011. Neighbors later appealed the approval of the beer pub and bottle shop application, but their effort was unsuccessful. Opponents of the businesses, many of whom lived nearby, said they feared the shops would lead to noise, garbage, smoking, drinking, parking problems and public safety. They said they’d be keeping a close eye on operations and were prepared to challenge the business’ liquor license if problems arise.

A beer and wine license was approved for both businesses in early February.

Grazzy Burgers and the Albany Taproom are open daily. Grazzy opens at 11 a.m. daily and the Taproom opens most days at noon. Both businesses appear to close at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and at 11 p.m. on weekends. Hours are subject to change, so check the Facebook pages for the most recent information.

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...