Big changes are underway at the Alibi. For several years now, the little club on Pioneer has been filling a niche. Like all bars in town, clientele pick and choose their settings according to what they find inside. The Alibi has become known primarily as a venue for DJs and hip-hop artists, pulling in a younger crowd of 20-somethings, packed into the dark interior and dancing the night away. For the past five years, ownership of the Alibi has belonged to Dali Frazer and Colt Belmonte, who split their time between the downtown club and their other business, Wasabi’s. On the 1st of June, ownership was passed on to Nelton Palma and Megan Reinseth. While both have been staple fixtures working at the Alibi for some time now, the new step is one they hope will revitalize the business.
“Since I’ve been here,” said Palma, “the Alibi used to be a hip place and it’s kind of gone on a decline. When Dali and Colt went to Wasabi’s, they were there all the time and the phases of business [at the Alibi] got lost for a year or so.”
The decision to take over the business is one that both Palma and Reinseth are excited about.
“It fulfilled needs for both of us,” said Palma, who has a long list of experience running nightclubs and restaurants in San Diego and Las Vegas. For Reinseth, who’s professional experience has been as a school principal with lots of bartending during the summers, the opportunity to operate a business is one she’s eager to take on.
“I was looking for something to run, that leadership role,” she said. “When I came to town three years ago, the Alibi was a really fun place. We want to bring that energy back.”
Not to say that the Alibi hasn’t been fun, but what Palma and Reinseth hope to bring to the venue is consistency. “We’re going to be here all the time,” Palma said. “We want people to recognize the bar with faces that are there all the time. It’s a good change. Dali and Colt can focus all of their attention on Wasabi’s, and for Megan and me, it keeps us more grounded because we’ll always be here.”
One of the hopes for Palma and Reinseth is to re-establish friendships with people and connect in a greater way with the community. Part of this is to find ways to attract a greater and more diverse demographic to the Alibi. The biggest change that has already been completed is the kitchen, which Palma said was inspired by the late-night taco stands in southern California.
Dubbed “Alibiertos,” the Alibi’s kitchen will be open during all business hours and will offer a range of fresh and inexpensive Mexican dishes such as burritos, nachos, tacos and papas fritas.
“After midnight, there’s really nowhere else to get good food,” said Palma. “Our kitchen will be open until the bar closes.”
In honor of the new kitchen and re-opening of the Alibi, which officially occurred last week, this Saturday the club is offering a special locals night where select menu items will be 25-50 percent off.
In addition to the kitchen, Palma and Reinseth have other ideas for the business and for bringing more people in. “My impression,” said Reinseth, “is that the Alibi is associated with the hip-hop dance crowd. We absolutely embrace and appreciate them and are not looking to change that. We want to add to it. We want to be the bar that has a good DJ on Friday night and a folk act on Saturday. You may not choose to come on one night, but you’ll be comfortable coming in the next. It’s not just this one track anymore.”
Ultimately, it’s about making people feel comfortable when they walk in the door, and Palma and Reinseth are adamant about providing a friendly face.
“The number one thing is comfort,” said Palma. “Whether it’s a nightclub or a hole-in-the-wall bar, if someone feels welcome when they come in, where they feel everything is familiar, you’ll have someone won over.”
It’s a second chance for the Alibi, and Palma and Reinseth hope the community will be responsive. With the new kitchen and interior redecorations in the works, the duo also has plans for bringing back the tradition of theme parties. They say their philosophy is all about having fun.
“When you own something you put more pride in it,” Palma said. “Megan and I made the decision to stay in Homer and we’re going to be a part of the crazy hamlet by the sea. We’ve never been able to really enjoy being a part of Homer when working two or three jobs. Now we’re in town and our personal life and business is one. It’s really exciting.”
The Alibi is open Wednesday-Sunday from 4 p.m.-close.
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